Popular author Michael Crichton has died at the age of 66 after a career writing science fiction and "techno-thriller" novels such as Jurassic Park and the Andromeda Strain.

Crichton, also a medical doctor who created the television show ER, died on Tuesday in Los Angeles of cancer. Crichton's family called the death unexpected, but released few details and requested privacy, according to Reuters.

Crichton explored various technology issues in his writing. In the "Terminal Man", published in 1972, Crichton tackles behaviour modification with a mentally ill protagonist who undergoes an operation to implant electrodes and a minicomputer in his brain. In the 1994 novel "Disclosure", Crichton profiles a fictional high-tech company executive wrongly accused of sexual harassment.

In 1969, Crichton wrote about a deadly plague originating from outer space in the Andromeda Strain, and 21 years later he imagined an amusement park filled with genetically recreated dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.

In the 2004 novel "State of Fear", Crichton portrayed environmentalists as terrorists, leading to criticism from scientists who said the novel gave flawed and misleading presentations of the science behind global warming.

Crichton's most recent book, "Next", was published in 2006 and explores the legal issues surrounding genetic research.

Crichton was born on 23 October 1942, and began writing novels under pen names while a student at Harvard Medical School, according to Reuters. Crichton sold more than 150 million books worldwide and many of his books were made into feature films.


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