'Ragtime' author E.L. Doctorow dies at age 84

Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:18am EDT
 
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(Reuters) - E.L. Doctorow, the author of popular novels grounded in American history including "Ragtime" and "Billy Bathgate," has died at age 84, his publisher said on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the Random House Publishing Group gave no further details but the New York Times, citing the writer's son Richard, said Doctorow died in New York on Tuesday of complications from lung cancer.

"E.L. Doctorow was one of America's greatest novelists. His books taught me much, and he will be missed," President Barack Obama said in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon.

Doctorow authored a dozen novels, short stories, a stage play and numerous articles and essays. His work, which positioned fictional characters in historical context, spanned 150 years of American history, from the civil war through modern time.

"Through books of great beauty and power, and characters I'll never forget, he showed us America's great flaws and its astonishing promise, and our own," Kate Medina, Doctorow's editor at Random House, said in a statement.

Doctorow was born in New York in 1931 and named after American writer Edgar Allen Poe.

During his long career he was awarded the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Awards and two PEN Faulkner Awards, among other honors.

He did not make his achievements seem easy.

"I don't think anything I've written has been done in under six or eight drafts," he told the Paris Review.   Continued...