Frank McCourt died at the age of 78 in a hospice in New York where he suffered from meningitis and metastatic melanoma. The eldest son of seven children to Irish immigrant parents, McCourt took up writing at a late age of 60 penning Angela’s Ashes, an autobiographical book, that saw it win the Pulitzer Prize in 1997, the National Book Critics Circle Award and other honours, and later made in to a film in 1999.
The book sold 6 million copies worldwide, but received scorn from many Limerick inhabitants. He followed up the success with further accounts of his life in New York with ‘Tis, and Teacher Man.
His death was felt both sides of the Atlantic as his death made the front page of both Irish and American newspapers. Tributes quickly followed
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg praised McCourt as a great New York writer who captured the hearts of a city. Former president Bill Clinton told Malachy McCourt he would join mourners at Rosie O’Grady’s bar in Broadway. Ryan Tubridy, the Late Late Show host elect stated that Frank McCourt ‘was one of my all time favourite guests’. A book of condolences will be at Limerick City Hall from 3pm today.
According to his wishes, his ashes are expected to be scattered over the River Shannon, as Frank McCourt eloquently puts it ‘to pollute it’.