Internationally acclaimed mystery author Sue Grafton has died. She was 77.
Grafton, a Louisville native, had been battling cancer and died around 11:30 p.m. Thursday in Santa Barbara, California, said her husband, Steve Humphrey.
Grafton was a contemporary American author well known for her alphabet mystery series featuring investigator Kinsey Millhone.
The series began with "A is for Alibi" in 1982 and continued through "Y is for Yesterday," released in August 2017.
The novels have since been published in 28 countries and in 26 languages. In 2013, Grafton marked the 30th anniversary of the series by releasing "Kinsey & Me," a set of stories that revealed the investigator's origins and gave insight into the author's past.
Her last book, "Z is for Zero," was scheduled for release in fall 2019, according to the author's website. But her husband, Steve Humphrey, said Grafton had yet to start writing the novel.
"She was trying to come up with an idea, but she never got one she liked," Humphrey said. "With chemo, she didn't have much energy or interest in that anyway. There will just be a 25-letter alphabet, I'm sorry to say."
Grafton's daughter, Jamie, echoed Humphrey's statement on Facebook.
"Sue always said that she would continue writing as long as she had the juice," she wrote in a post on Grafton's page. "Many of you also know that she was adamant that her books would never be turned into movies or TV shows, and in that same vein, she would never allow a ghost writer to write in her name. Because of all of those things, and out of the deep abiding love and respect for our dear sweet Sue, as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y."
Grafton, born in April 1940, graduated from the University of Louisville with a B.A. in English in 1961, according to a U of L profile of her. Over the years, she's received more than 30 prestigious awards and honors, including being named Kentucky's 2007 Distinguished American by the A.B. "Happy" Chandler Foundation and being inducted into the American Academy of Achievement.
"She was marvelous and fabulous and adored by everyone who knew her," said Humphrey, her husband of more than 40 years. "She was very successful as a writer; very dedicated and very talented."
"She was trying to come up with an idea, but she never got one she liked," he said. "With chemo, she didn't have much energy or interest in that anyway. There will just be a 25-letter alphabet, I'm sorry to say."
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