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David Rakoff, author and 'This American Life' contributor, dies at 47

UPDATED: David Rakoff — a sharp, sardonic wit who delighted listeners of This American Life and readers of his books of essays — died after a two-year fight with cancer on Thursday. He was 47.

Born in Canada, Rakoff started his career in publishing, where he struck up a friendship with author and humorist David Sedaris. Through Sedaris, Rakoff also got to know an NPR reporter named Ira Glass, and when Glass started his hour long public radio show This American Life, Rakoff was one of its earliest contributors. (He’s also one of the rare few who has guest hosted the show.) “[His death] was no surprise,” Glass wrote Friday on the This American Life blog. “He’d been talking about it for months. He even named August as when it would happen. We’ve watched him get weaker and sicker. But still it’s hard not to be stunned. … He was my friend, our friend here at the radio show, and our brother in creating the program, making it into what it’s become. We loved him. We’ll miss him.”

Through his This American Life appearances and his books of collected essays, including 2001’s Fraud and 2005’s Don’t Get Too Comfortable, Rakoff quickly established his singular worldview: A bemused, trenchant pessimism, informed in equal measure by his Jewish cultural heritage, his homosexuality, and his inveterate loyalty to his adopted home of New York City. READ FULL STORY

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