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NEW YORK: Michael Crichton, the best-selling author who made scientific research terrifying and irresistible in thrillers such as Jurassic Park, Timeline and The Andromeda Strain, has died of cancer, his family said.
The American medical doctor turned novelist and filmmaker wrote books that have sold more than 150 million copies worldwide. He died on Tuesday in Los Angeles at age 66 after what his family described as a 'courageous and private battle against cancer'.

The family statement, which was released through a publicist, called the author's death 'unexpected' but released few other details about his illness and death, and requested privacy.

Crichton was awarded his medical degree at Harvard Medical School in 1969, the same year his first major bestseller, The Andromeda Strain, was published.

He went on to write 14 other novels, many of which were turned into films, including Jurassic Park, about rampaging dinosaurs on an island theme park, and the sequel The Lost World.

He also turned his hand to film directing, screenwriting and producing for film and television. He created the long-running hit TV medical drama ER, for which he won an Emmy award.

The Chicago-born author was, however, a global warming sceptic. In 2004, he stirred controversy with his bestseller on the subject, State Of Fear, in which the main villains are eco-terrorists.

Crichton was married five times and had one child. A private funeral has been planned.

ASSOCIATED PRESS, LOS ANGELES TIMES
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