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Peter Straub, an author of horror and supernatural fiction who had worked with Stephen King, died Sunday at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City. He was 79.
His wife, Susan Straub, told The New York Times that his death stemmed from complications due to a broken hip. Additionally, his daughter Emma Straub, also a novelist, announced his passing on Twitter in a tribute thread.
Straub is known for penning such work as 1975’s Julia, about a woman who senses she’s being stalked by a supernatural presence while mourning the death of her young daughter, which was adapted into the 1977 film The Haunting of Julia that stars Mia Farrow. He achieved major success with 1979’s Ghost Story, about a group of men who attempt to learn the backstory of the female spirit haunting them; it was adapted into the 1981 film of the same name that stars Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas and John Houseman.
His work also includes the 1984 fantasy novel The Talisman, focusing on a 12-year-old attempting to save his dying mother by entering a parallel universe, and its 2001 sequel, Black House, both of which he co-wrote with King. The two books connect to King’s epic novel series The Dark Tower.
“It’s a sad day because my good friend and amazingly talented colleague and collaborator, Peter Straub, has passed away,” King tweeted Tuesday. “Working with him was one of the great joys of my creative life.”
Born on March 2, 1943, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Straub earned his MA from Columbia University. He had been hit by a car at age 7 and was hospitalized for several months before having to relearn how to walk. “It left me with a premature bolt of awareness of my own mortality, my physical fragility, and a sense that the world was not benign,” he told USA Today in 2002.
Straub followed his 1970s success with 1988’s Koko, a novel focusing on ritualistic murders taking place in Southeast Asia. His 1990s novels Mystery and The Throat joined Koko to comprise his “Blue Rose Trilogy.”
A number of his novels won the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award for achievement in horror writing. These included The Throat, Mr. X (1999), Lost Boy, Lost Girl (2003), In the Night Room (2004) and A Dark Matter (2010).
Straub also wrote numerous novellas, along with multiple collections of poetry and short stories.
He is survived by wife Susan, whom he married in 1966, and their two children.
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