By DAVID BEILSTEIN
Vince Flynn, the international bestselling author of counterterrorism thrillers rooted in prescient true events, died Wednesday, after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 47.
Sources said Flynn was taken to United Hospital’s Intensive Care facilities in his hometown of St Paul, Minn., unable to breath. Flynn passed away shortly after 1 a.m., surrounded by 35 close family and friends. In the last few months, sources say Flynn’s health had been deteriorating.
In 2011, Flynn announced he had been diagnosed with Stage III prostate cancer. Over the course of several years, Flynn underwent a series of strenuous hormone therapy treatments and submitted himself to a strict dietary regime to try and kill the cancer, which had spread to his pelvis.
Throughout Flynn’s two-year battle with prostate cancer, the St Paul native continued to publish bestsellers, and was overseeing CBS films’ attempts to bring his iconic character Mitch Rapp’s violent vengeance against Islamic militants to the silver screen.
Born Vincent Flynn in St Paul Minn., in 1966, Flynn was the fifth of seven children. He graduated from St Thomas Academy in 1984 and the University of St Thomas with a degree in economics, in 1988.
Flynn left a promising career with Kraft General Foods as an account and sales specialist to fulfill a dream to be a writer. This proved an unusual passion given Flynn’s troubled struggles with dyslexia, which challenged him in school with reading and writing.
But Flynn persisted. After quitting his marketing position at Kraft in 1990, he bar tended at night and wrote during the day. Success came slowly but surely. Self-publishing his first novel “Term Limits,” after 60 rejection slips, Flynn went on to write 14 novels, 12 featuring counterterrorism hero Mitch Rapp—a brutal, politically incorrect Special Activities Division CIA operative—who like 24’s Jack Bauer—did whatever was necessary to prevent a terrorist attack.
Flynn predeceases his wife Lysa Flynn and three young children.
The status of Flynn’s upcoming novel “The Survivor,” to be published in October of 2013, remains uncertain. Emily Bestler books, Flynn’s publisher for 15 years, stated it is uncertain if Flynn completed the book.
A blog post authored by a family friend suggests Flynn was unable to complete what would have been his last novel. At the time of his death, Flynn also had a pending thriller series co-authored with Brain Haig, son of the late Secretary of State Alexander Haig, which was supposed to be an ongoing series.
The author leaves behind a slew of impassioned readers, and enthusiastic fans. As an author, Flynn was no Updike-ian prose stylist, but he was fearless in battling his cancer–and in novel writing, he avoided the banal, and politically correct posture which strangles too much espionage fiction.