Novelist Elmore Leonard has died at the age of 87. The Detroit News reported that he passed away in his Michigan home earlier today, where he had been resting after a stroke in early August. He was surrounded by his family.
One of the most respected crime novelists in America, he channeled his distinctive voice through indelible characters in over 40 novels and numerous short stories: the legacy of a writing career that spanned seven decades. Many of these stories made their way to the big screen in the form of hit movies the likes of Out of Sight, 3:10 to Yuma, Get Shorty and Jackie Brown (from his novel Rum Punch).
More recently, his short story Fire in the Hole was adapted into the critically-acclaimed series Justified, starring Timothy Olyphant. Leonard publicly adored the show, so much so that he chose to revisit the lead character of Raylan Givens for what would turn out to be his final novel.
An inspiration to a whole generation of writers and film-makers, he could be seen as the missing link between the sparse, evocative prose of Hammett and Chandler and the films of Quentin Tarantino, finding wit and beauty in the exploits of low-lifes, criminals and cowboys. He was an American original, one whose body of work stands alone in that most crowded of literary genres.
Elmore Leonard, 1925-2013