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article imageAuthor Brian Jacques dies at 71

By Lynn Curwin     Feb 7, 2011 in Entertainment
Liverpool - Brian Jacques, the former merchant sailor and author of the Redwall series of books, died of a heart attack at the age of 71.
"We are sorry to relay the news to all of Brian's friends and readers of his passing on the evening of February 5th 2011. His family wish to convey their thanks for the many messages of condolence they have received," states a message on his website.
BBC News reported that he first wrote the series, which is set in an abbey populated by animals, for children at the Royal Wavertree School for the Blind in Liverpool.
He used to stop in when he delivered milk to the school.
There were 21 novels in the series and the books were translated into 29 languages.
A TV series and an opera (Redwall: The Legend of Redwall Abbey) were created from the stories.
Jacques was born in Liverpool, England. When he was 10 he was caned at school because of a story he wrote about a bird who cleaned a crocodile's teeth. His teacher refused to believe he had written the story and when he would not admit he had copied it he was punished.
After finishing school at 15 he travelled to several places while working as a merchant seaman. He then returned to England and worked as a railway fireman, longshoreman, long-distance truck driver, bus driver, boxer, police officer, postmaster, and stand-up comic.
During the sixties he and his two brothers were members of a folksinging group called The Liverpool Fishermen.
He wrote poetry, music and three stage plays - Brown Bitter, Wet Nellies, and Scouse - as well as many books.
Alan Durband, who taught Jacques English during his childhood, showed Redwall to a publisher after he read it, leading to a five-book contract.
Thriller writer Jason Pinter was a big fan of the Redwall books as a child.
"I was enraptured by the quest of the small, timid mouse, Matthias, and his quest to retrieve the sword of the legendary Martin the Warrior to protect his home, the Abbey, from Cluny the scourge and his minions," he wrote in a Huffington Post article. " Over the course of the story, the timid Matthias grows into a leader, a fighter, proving himself to have courage and bravery that nobody--even himself--knew existed."
Jacques wrote books about other subjects such as the legend of the Flying Dutchman (a phantom ship) and Urso Brunov (tiny bears).
He died at Royal Liverpool hospital on Saturday night (February 5).
“It was sudden," The Liverpool Echo quoted his brother Jim Jacques as saying. "He had to go for an emergency operation on an aneurism that had appeared on his aorta and they just couldn’t save him.”
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