November 05, 2008 at 10:56 PM EST

Michael Crichton, the best-selling author of Jurassic Park and creator of the TV series ER, died in Los Angeles yesterday at the age of 66, according to a statement from his public relations firm. The release said the author died unexpectedly after a “courageous and private battle against cancer.” A private funeral service is expected.

Crichton, a medical doctor, was known for writing cautionary science tales. He wrote his first novel, 1969’s The Andromeda Strain, about an alien microorganism studied at a military compound, while still a medical student at Harvard Medical School. His 1990 novel, Jurassic Park, was perhaps his best-known book. It focused on scientists who used dinosaur DNA to bring the creatures back to life — with horrific consequences. The book was turned into a hit movie directed by Steven Spielberg in 1993. His last published novel was 2006’s Next, a technothriller about genetic experimentation.


More on Michael Crichton:
EW readers rememeber Michael Crichton in PopWatch
Michael Crichton profile
Michael Crichton: EW Power Issue
Michael Crichton profile (from Jurassic Park days)
TV Review: Adaptation of Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain
Book review: Airframe
Book review: Next
Book review: Prey
Book review: State of Fear
Movie review: Twister (Crichton screenplay)

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