Beloved writer and New York Times best-selling author Eric Jerome Dickey has died. He was 59-years-old.
According to ESSENCE, Dickey’s publicist confirmed the news of his Jan. 3 death. His cousin La Verne Madison Fuller mourned his passing on social media after writing a heartbreaking Facebook post.
Dickey was a celebrated figure in American literature who was responsible for penning several classic books about Black life — including “Sister, Sister,” “Friends & Lovers” and “Between Lovers.”
He was credited for revolutionizing the art of storytelling in the contemporary fiction genre and had over seven million of his books published worldwide.
Dickey — born and raised in Memphis, TN — began writing stories back in 1989, just seven years before he made his literary debut. He also explored work as a comedian and actor, but ultimately decided he wanted to pursue writing as his passion.
Through his work, he was able to fill a void where Black people could finally be seen, and many fans say his writing helped them fall in love with reading.
Eric Jerome Dickey was one of the first “grown folks” book authors I used to sneak to read when I was in middle school.
A unique literary voice that left a mark in Black culture for ever. #RIP
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) January 5, 2021
Wow. Rest In Peace Eric Jerome Dickey. I fell in love with reading sneaking and reading his books as a girl.
— Asia Chloe Brown (@AsiaChloeBrown) January 5, 2021
Eric Jerome Dickey was a literary legend. Had a whole generation reading and coming to school the next day like “DID YOU FINISH YET??? We have to talk about it when you do!”
May he rest peacefully.
— Luvvie is the #ProfessionalTroublemaker (@Luvvie) January 5, 2021
In a 2000 interview by Alden Mudge, Dickey shared his purpose behind the stories he wrote saying: “I don’t intentionally write a book with an idea of ‘the moral to this story is,’ because I’m more focused on letting the people in the book live. I just try to do my best. I never know if I’ve hit the nail on the head, if it’s really worked, until I put it out there for people to read.”
Dickey was a celebrated literary legend who will be deeply missed.
Rest in peace to Eric Jerome Dickey. Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones.