Michael Crichton - the author, filmmaker, and television producer best known for his 1990 novel Jurassic Park - is dead at the age of 66.
According to a statement released by his family, Crichton was privately battling cancer.
"While the world knew him as a great story teller that challenged our preconceived notions about the world around us - and entertained us all while doing so - his wife Sherri, daughter Taylor, family and friends knew Michael Crichton as a devoted husband, loving father, and generous friend who inspired each of us to strive to see the wonders of our world through new eyes," the statement read. "He did this with a wry sense of humor that those who were privileged to know him personally will never forget."
Crichton's books - including The Andromeda Strain, Disclosure, Congo, and Jurassic Park sequel The Lost World - sold more than a 150 million copies worldwide, and several were adapted into high-profile Hollywood films. Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park - made in 1993 from a screenplay co-written by Crichton - is still among the top 15 highest grossing films of all-time.
Born in Chicago, Michael Crichton attended Harvard Medical School, where he penned The Andromeda Strain, his first bestseller, which was later adapted for the screen by Robert Wise. Crichton would go on to direct six films of his own, including Westworld, Coma, and The Great Train Robbery, and produce four others.
He was also the creator and executive producer of the long-running American TV drama ER, for which he won an Emmy, a Peabody, and a Writer's Guild of America Award.
In recent years, Crichton attracted attention as a skeptic of global warming, the subject of his 2004 book State of Fear. In 2002, paleontologists named a newly discovered dinosaur after him: Crichtonsaurus bohlini. ®