Arthur C. Clarke, the prolific science-fiction writer who wowed readers for decades with groundbreaking books like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Childhood’s End, has died. The British-born author passed away on Wednesday at his home in his adopted country of Sri Lanka at age 90. He had been chronically ill, sometimes using a wheelchair, with post-polio syndrome since the 1960s. Late last year, he reportedly recorded a video for friends and fans saying ”goodbye.”
A Royal Air Force veteran of World War II, Clarke studied mathematics and physics in college before becoming a leader in the growing field of space sciences; he was one of the first people to suggest a future in which telecommunications satellites would orbit the Earth. He published numerous short stories, articles, and books on scientific topics, and moved to Sri Lanka in 1956.
But it was his work with Stanley Kubrick for the 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey that elevated Clarke to the level of pop-cultural fame. Looking to make a movie about extra-human intelligence, the film director approached Clarke with his idea. The pair opted to adapt Clarke’s two-decade-old fictional story The Sentinel first into a novel and then into a film. The result is widely considered one of the best movies ever made, and Clarke received an Oscar nomination for the screenplay that he and Kubrick cowrote. Clarke kept the series alive via several sequels: 2010: Odyssey Two, which was published in 1982 and adapted into a movie directed by Peter Hyams and starring Roy Scheider and Helen Mirren in 1984; 2061; and 3001: The Final Odyssey. He was knighted in 1998.