Michael Crichton, creator of the television show ER and author of such novels as Jurassic Park and The Lost World, passed away unexpectedly today in Los Angeles. He was 66.

During his life, Crichton penned such popular works as The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Disclosure, Timeline, State of Fear, Prey, and Next. Both Jurassic Park, and its sequel The Lost World, were adapted into high grossing films.

Crichton’s death was unexpected, according to his family, but he had been privately undergoing a battle with cancer.

“While the world knew him as a great storyteller that challenged our preconceived notions about the world around us — and entertained us all while doing so — his wife Sherri, daughter Taylor, family and friends knew Michael Crichton as 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,” his family tells ET. “He did this with a wry sense of humor that those who were privileged to know him personally will never forget.”

Thoughts and best wishes go out to Crichton’s family during this difficult time.

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