David Rakoff Dies at 47

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The Thurber Prize-winning author and performer lost a long battle with illness.

David Rakoff, an author best known for his darkly funny personal essays, died on Thursday after a second bout with cancer.

Awarded the Thurber Prize for his 2010 book of essays, Half Empty, Rakoff was born in Canada and lived in New York, where he earned fame for his frankly open stories about being a gay, Jewish and very neurotic man. A frequent contributer to Ira Glass' This American Life radio show, Rakoff met the host through his friend, the writer David Sedaris, who Rakoff first approached while working in book publishing.

He wrote two other books of essays: 2011's Fraud, and 2005's Don't Get Too Comfortable. Rakoff appeared in several films, including Strangers With Candy (starring his friend Amy Sedaris), and Bennett Miller's Capote.

Rakoff was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in 2010, a result of radiation therapy he received for lymphatic cancer, which he overcame in his early 20s. He discussed the deterioration of his treatment in this spring's This American Life live show, which you can listen to below.

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