'Jurassic Park' Author, 'ER' Creator Michael Crichton Dies

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Michael Crichton, the mind behind dinosaurs and robotic cowboys running amok in "Jurassic Park" and "Westworld," has died. He was 66.

The best-selling author and filmmaker died after a "courageous and private battle against cancer" in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Nov. 4, according to a statement released by his family.

Crichton is best known as the author of "Jurassic Park" and the creator of NBC's hit medical drama "ER," for which he won an Emmy. Many of his works are thrillers that include a technological or medical basis for the futuristic action.

A statement released by his rep reads, "While the world knew him as a great story teller that challenged our preconceived notions about the world around us -- and entertained us all while doing so -- his wife Sherri, daughter Taylor, family and friends knew Michael Crichton as a devoted husband, loving father and generous friend who inspired each of us to strive to see the wonders of our world through new eyes. He did this with a wry sense of humor that those who were privileged to know him personally will never forget.

"Through his books, Michael Crichton served as an inspiration to students of all ages, challenged scientists in many fields, and illuminated the mysteries of the world in a way we could all understand. He will be profoundly missed by those whose lives he touched, but he leaves behind the greatest gifts of a thirst for knowledge, the desire to understand, and the wisdom to use our minds to better our world.

"Michael's family respectfully asks for privacy during this difficult time."

Crichton was born in Chicago, Illinois on Oct. 23, 1942 to John Henderson Crichton and Zula Miller Crichton. He graduated from Harvard College and then received his MD from Harvard Medical School, after which he became a post-doctoral fellow at Jonas Salk Institute for Biological Studies and a visiting writer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"The Andromeda Strain," about a deadly alien virus, was published while he was still a medical student and was the first of his novels to be adapted for film. His other book-to-silver screen adaptations include: "Westworld," about robot malfunctions at an adult western theme park; "Coma," about black market organ sales; "The Great Train Robbery," starring Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland; the malfunctioning robot film "Runaway"; the Japan-set "Rising Sun"; "Disclosure," about sexual harassment; "Congo"; "Twister"; "The 13th Warrior" and "Timeline."

"Jurassic Park" spawned two big-screen sequels with a fourth planned for 2010. In 2002, a newly discovered ankylosaur was named for him: the Crichtonsaurus bohlini.

On television, Crichton wrote for "Beyond Westworld" and helped create the Emmy-winning "ER." Crichton's works have been translated into 36 languages.

Crichton was married to Sherri Alexander, his fifth wife after four failed marriages, and had a daughter, Taylor Anne, the child from his fourth marriage to Anne-Marie Martin.

A private funeral service is expected, but no further details will be released to the public.

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