Writer David Rakoff Dies at 47

Best known for his mordant essays and contributions to the radio show This American Life, writer and humorist David Rakoff passed away Thursday night at age 47 after a long battle with cancer. Raised in Toronto, Rakoff worked in book publishing after studying at Columbia University, and made his name crafting incisive essays for The New York Times Magazine and other acclaimed publications. Rakoff’s popular works include his essay collection Fraud and Half Empty, a defense of pessimism for which he earned the Thurber Prize for American Humor. In a New York Times Magazine essay last year, Rakoff wrote about fighting cancer with characteristic rancor: “I will forever be grateful to my oncologist for opening the door and saying, ‘Damn it, the tumor’s 10 percent bigger,’ before he even said hello.”