Diana Wynne Jones had died of lung cancer.
Her books are full of magic, adventure, and a sharp, biting wit that's particularly British - much like Harry Potter in tone, except with more of a satirical edge.
In the States, her most famous book is probably Howl's Moving Castle, especially since the Hayao Miyazaki film adaptation a few years ago. But my favorite character in any of her books is Chrestomanci the enchanter, who has nine lives and zips around the various universes fixing magical messes - something like Dr. Who, but without the TARDIS. He's had several books of his own and appears in many more.
Also hop over to Tor.com, where Tucson author Emma Bull wrote a beautiful article titled Remembering Diana Wynne Jones, about her experiences with a person who was as fascinating as the books she wrote.
If you've never read Jones' work, you're in for a treat. If you have and you're as sad as I am that we've lost such a talented author, take comfort in the fact that her books, at least, live on.
- Maureen K.