Bestselling Jurassic Park author and filmmaker Michael Crichton has lost his battle with cancer in Los Angeles. He was 66.
Crichton, who also wrote sex thriller Disclosure and co-created hit TV series ER, was 66.
In a statement, the author's representative says, "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, Michael Crichton was 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 humour that those who were privileged to know him personally will never forget."
A family insider tells website MomLogic.com, "Michael's family respectfully asks for privacy during this difficult time."
Crichton was born in Chicago, Illinois but grew up in Roslyn, New York, the son of a journalist who encouraged his writing passion.
He quit studying English at Harvard University to travel through Europe and then returned to Massachusetts to study medicine at Harvard Medical School.
His early novels were written under the pseudonym Jeffery Hudson.
Crichton gave up medicine in the early 1970s and moved to California, where he began directing movies based on his books.
His big break came with 1973 cult movie Westworld.
He almost became an actor in the mid-1970s when director Nicolas Roeg called on him to play the alien David Bowie eventually portrayed in The Man Who Fell to Earth. To date, his only acting role came in 1971's The Andromeda Strain, in which he played an uncredited surgeon.
The author/director starred in his own real-life drama in 2002 when he was tied up and robbed at gunpoint by masked men in his Santa Monica, California home.
Married five times, Crichton leaves behind one child, Taylor.
His bestselling novels and hit screenplays also include Twister, Congo, The First Great Train Robbery and all the Jurassic Park sequels.
As a filmmaker, he directed the movies The 13th Warrior, Physical Evidence, Runaway and The First Great Train Robbery, among others.