Tributes paid to ‘ a profoundly original author who used his own mortality as a lens ‘ and wrote days before his death.
Joe Hammond, the writer who movingly wrote about his motor neuron disease (MND) diagnosis and his own mortality, died at age of 50.
In 2018, the British writer and playwright became famous when he wrote 33 cards for his two young sons, Tom and Jimmy, for the birthdays he wouldn’t live to see for the Guardian.
In 2018 The British author and playwright became popular, when he wrote for the Guardian about writing 33 cards for his two young sons, Tom and Jimmy, for the birthdays he would not live to see.
“In a year, or probably two, their mom will take an old shoebox from a drawer on a May or November day and pull out Dad’s first card. And then every year until they’re twenty-one,” he wrote in the viral article, which went viral.
“I had no previous crying facility, no real experience of it, but that’s what I did for the next five nights and five days after my diagnosis. I built Lego on the evenings and read stories.”
“I began again when Tom fell asleep. I talked about the value of laughter, but I don’t think it’s the best medicine anymore. I felt calmer, more relaxed and more content at the end of my five days of crying than at any time in my life.”
“I know that the glass is thickening and my life’s figures are blurring. I know it’s going on and I know how it’s going to end. And I know that the end of my life becomes the best of my life despite all this; not the worst.”
This year, his memoir on his gradual physical deterioration, A Short History of Falling: All I Observed About Love While Dying, was published. Starting: “If I could just stop falling over, this would be a funnier book,” the book was praised widely for its humour and calmness. Kate Kellaway wrote in the Spectator:“This is a book to extend empathy, to ensure one understands what it is to have MND and to witness one man facing it with exceptional courage.”
He finished writing an article about the end of his life days before his death, which will be released on 14 December in the Guardian Weekend magazine.
His publisher HarperCollins reported his death, saying on November 30 that he had died peacefully at home.


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