His publicist, Laura Gilmore, told the Associated Press he passed away Thursday night after being stricken while at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. A cause of death has not been determined.
An official for the coroner’s office in Los Angeles confirmed that a man matching Harris’ name and date of birth had died Thursday night at Cedars- Sinai Medical Center.
Harris suffered a “serious health setback” while on a West Coast book tour for his eleventh tome, “Basketball Jones,” according to the Arkansas Times.
The author’s sudden and untimely death quickly became the most-searched term on Google this afternoon.
Harris, an openly-gay writer who spent a decade as a closeted IBM executive, specialized in stories following attractive young African-American men who were in the closet or keeping their sexuality on the “down-low” in novels including “Just As I Am,” “If This World Were Mine” and “Any Way The Wind Blows.”
His 2003 memoir, “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted,” was also a New York Times best-seller, and there are more than four million copies of his books in print.
Born Everette Lynn Harris in Flint, Michigan, the soft-spoken Southerner grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas dreaming of becoming an author.
Success didn’t come easily. His memoir recounted his troubled childhood, which included abuse by his stepfather and a suicide attempt in 1990 when his own “down-low” lifestyle led him into a deep depression.
There must be a serious epidemic going around. So many people dying in such a short period of time. Especially African American man dying in their 50’s & 60’s.