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Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams, author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” died May 11 of a heart attack in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 49.

His sudden death was met with shock and sorrow by friends, family and fans of his classic cult novel, which gave the elusive answer to the meaning of life: 42.

“He was a gifted writer; a one-off talent who managed to combine fantasy and humanity in books which enthralled generations of readers. We’ll miss him enormously,” said Alan Yentob, the BBC director of drama and entertainment.

Adams was born in Cambridge, England, in 1952 and educated in Essex before returning to Cambridge to study at St. John’s College.

He worked as a radio and television writer and producer prior to the 1979 publication of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” which went on to sell more than 14 million copies worldwide and led to such sequels as “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe,” “Life, the Universe and Everything” and “So Long and Thanks for All the Fish.”

In recent years, the author had been working on a “Hitchhiker’s Guide” movie with Hugh Laurie, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carrey, Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis in the running for the role of Arthur Dent.

Adams was an Internet pioneer, presenting a series on it on BBC Radio 4 and creating the h2g2 Web site, an innovative online encyclopedia.

Adams is survived by his wife, Jane Belson, and a daughter.

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