After a long and brave fight with amyloidosis, international bestselling fantasy author Robert Jordan (born James Oliver Rigney, Jr.) passed on Sunday afternoon. Jordan's Wheel of Time series had spawned a legion of fans, along with music, websites, and all of the other trappings that come from the kind of success in which an author's imagination transfers itself to his fans.The last book in the series was scheduled to come out this year. I went back and read the series in order, from the prequel, and I was once again struck by the incredible scope and vision of the series.
Jordan had first disclosed his condition through a letter posted on Locus Online and elsewhere in March 2006. In it, he had expressed his determination to beat the disease: "I have thirty more years' worth of books to write even if I can keep from thinking of any more, and I don't intend to let this thing get in my way." Jordan's honest and open approach about his condition helped bring needed attention to amyloidosis, a rare blood disease.
According to Wikipedia and his publisher bio, Jordan was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and served two tours in Vietnam, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross with bronze oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with "V" and bronze oak leaf cluster, and two Vietnamese Gallantry Crosses with palm. He later received a degree in physics from The Citadel and worked for the U.S. Navy as a nuclear engineer.
Jordan began writing in 1977 and was first published in 1980 with The Fallon Blood under the pen name Reagan O'Neal. He then cut his teeth on a series of Conan novels, before turning in the 1990s to the Wheel of Time novels that earned him his reputation.
Jordan's heroic fantasy had a truly epic scope and his readership similarly transcended the fantasy genre. Over the years, I can recall hearing about Jordan from a multitude of people and settings--on racquetball courts, in shopping malls, at dinner parties, on boats, in pool halls, and in a number of different countries.
The Wheel spins as the Wheel will...