Eric Jerome Dickey, best-selling author, dies at 59

Eric Jerome Dickey, a best-selling author known for his works on modern Black life, died Sunday “after battling a long illness,” his publicist confirmed to CBS News. He was 59. 

“It is with great sadness that we confirm that beloved New York Times best-selling author Eric Jerome Dickey passed away on Sunday, January 3,” his publicist said in a statement. “His work has become a cultural touchstone over the course of his multi-decade writing career, earning him millions of dedicated readers around the world.”

Dickey wrote over 29 novels during the course of his life, such as “Milk in My Coffee,” “Cheaters, Chasing Destiny,” “Liar’s Game,” “Between Lovers,” and “Thieves’ Paradise.” His most recent work was a six-issue miniseries of graphic novels for Marvel featuring Storm and the Black Panther. Over 7 million copies of his books have been published worldwide, including in French, Polish, and Japanese. 

Dickey was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee and attended Memphis State University in 1989. After leaving his engineering degree behind, Dickey began to dedicate his life to writing he had started years earlier. Not just a novelist, the beloved author also wrote screenplays, comedy, poetry, short stories and comic books. He is survived by four daughters. 

His publisher, Dutton, issued a statement on his passing: “Eric Jerome Dickeyloved being a writer and all that it encompassed. He loved challenging himself with each book; he adored his readers and beloved fans and was always grateful for his success. We are proud to have been his publisher over the span of his award-winning career. He will truly be missed.”

After news of his death broke, authors mourned his death on social media and shared what his work meant to them. 

Author Roxane Gay tweeted, “I am truly saddened to hear about the passing of Eric Jerome Dickey. His were some of the first novels I ever read about black people that weren’t about slavery or civil rights. He was a great storyteller.”

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