Sci-fi guru Arthur C. Clarke dies at 90

Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:55am EDT
 
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By Simon Gardner

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Pioneering science fiction writer and visionary Arthur C. Clarke, best known for his work on the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey," has died in his adopted home of Sri Lanka at the age of 90.

He died of respiratory complications and heart failure doctors linked to the post-polio syndrome that had kept him wheelchair-bound for years.

Marking his "90th orbit of the sun" in December, the prolific British-born author and theorist made three birthday wishes: For E.T. to call, for man to kick his oil habit and for peace in Sri Lanka.

Clarke was born in England on December 16, 1917, and served as a radar specialist in the Royal Air Force during World War Two.

He was one of the first to suggest the use of satellites orbiting the earth for communications, and in the 1940s forecast that man would reach the Moon by the year 2000 -- an idea experts at first dismissed.

When Neil Armstrong landed in 1969, the United States said Clarke "provided the essential intellectual drive that led us to the Moon."

Clarke first came to the Indian Ocean island in the 1950s for scuba, later founding a diving school, and said he became a resident after he "fell in love with the place."

President Mahinda Rajapaksa paid tribute to Sri Lanka's most famous foreign resident and "prophet."   Continued...

 
<p>Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke signs copies of his books at The Galle Literary Festival, January 14 2007. The pioneering science fiction writer and visionary, best known for his work on the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey", has died in his adopted home of Sri Lanka at the age of 90. REUTERS/Buddhika Weerasinghe</p>