We lost another literary star today. I truly enjoyed Tony's books. I am a huge mystery fan, cut my teeth on Sherlock Holmes and have loved the genre ever since. Tony was a wonderful discovery I made in High School-- I especially enjoyed his sense of place and character.
PHOENIX (AP) — Tony Hillerman, author of the acclaimed Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels and creator of two of the unlikeliest of literary heroes — Navajo police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee — died Sunday of pulmonary failure. He was 83.
Hillerman's daughter, Anne Hillerman, said her father's health had been declining in the last couple years and that he was at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque when he died at about 3 p.m.
Hillerman lived through two heart attacks and surgeries for prostate and bladder cancer. He kept tapping at his keyboard even as his eyes began to dim, as his hearing faded, as rheumatoid arthritis turned his hands into claws.
"I'm getting old," he declared in 2002, "but I still like to write."
Anne Hillerman said Sunday that her father was a born storyteller.
What a wonderful epitaph for a writer.