PJ O'Rourke, the US journalist, political satirist and best-selling author who rose to fame as editor-in-chief of the now-defunct humorous magazine National Lampoon, has died at the age of 74.
Grove Atlantic, a New York-based publisher of his books, confirmed he passed away on Tuesday morning after a battle with lung cancer.
“PJ was one of the major voices of his generation. He was also a close friend and partner for more than 40 years,” said Grove Atlantic chief executive and publisher Morgan Entrekin, adding that O’Rourke played a key role in helping the company stay independent.
“His insightful reporting, verbal acuity and gift at writing laugh-out-loud prose were unparalleled.”
Patrick Jake O’Rourke authored more than 20 books, with topics including politics, economics and cars. Two of them topped the New York Times Bestsellers list: Parliament of Whores, in which he used humour to explain the innerworkings of Washington, DC, and Give War a Chance, a book about international conflict and crisis.
His work appeared in publications including Rolling Stone, The Atlantic Monthly, Vanity Fair and The Daily Beast, among others.
After growing up in Toledo, Ohio and graduating from Miami University in Ohio, O'Rourke left the Midwest for the East Coast to attend Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He launched his writing career at small newspapers in Baltimore and New York.
O'Rourke joined The National Lampoon in the early 1970s and later assumed the roles of managing editor and editor-in-chief. Later in his career he was the HL Mencken Research Fellow at Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank, and a panelist on the NPR's weekly current events quiz show, "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me."
He is survived by his wife, Tina O’Rourke, and three children, according to his publisher. – Reuters