brisbanetimes.com wrote:Science fiction guru Arthur C Clarke dies
March 19, 2008 - 8:58AM
COLOMBO - British-born science fiction guru, Arthur C Clarke, died at a hospital in Sri Lanka today, his aide Rohan de Silva said. He was 90.
Clarke, who shot to fame after writing 2001: A Space Odyssey, had been in and out of hospital since his 90th birthday in December and had breathing difficulties, de Silva told AFP.
"Sir Arthur passed away a short while ago at the Apollo Hospital," de Silva said.
Clarke, who in 1945 predicted the establishment of communication satellites, has written more than 80 books. He was Sri Lanka's best-known resident guest and has a scientific academy named after him.
He also ran a diving school that was affected by the December 2004 tsunami.
His valet, WKM Dharmawardena, said funeral arrangements would be finalised after his close family returned to the island from Australia.
Dharmawardena said Clarke's condition began to deteriorate in recent weeks and he had been in hospital for the past four days.
Clarke marked his birthday on December 16 wishing for peace in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, where he has lived for the past five decades.
Clarke blew out a single candle on his cake to mark his birthday, which was celebrated at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka building within Colombo's high security zone. Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse joined the government-organised festivities.
The author said he had sadly watched - for close to half his lifetime - a bitter ethnic conflict tearing up Sri Lanka.
"I dearly wish to see lasting peace established in Sri Lanka as soon as possible," he said, referring to Asia's longest-running war in which the Tamil Tigers' campaign for an independent homeland has left tens of thousands dead.
Although the conflict started in 1972, fighting has been escalating in the island since late 2005, when a Nordic-brokered truce unravelled.
"But I'm aware that peace cannot just be wished - it requires a great deal of hard work, courage and persistence," he said in a taped message released to reporters here before the celebrations.
Clarke, who also wished for evidence of extra-terrestrial life and for the world to adopt cleaner fuels on his birthday, said he did not feel "a day older than 89" as he completed "90 orbits around the sun".
"I have no regrets and no more personal ambitions," said the writer, who was confined for the past three decades to a wheelchair because of the effects of childhood polio.