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Michener Refuses Further Kidney Dialysis Spokeswoman Says Author, 90, Resting Comfortably At Home

Mon., Oct. 13, 1997

Ninety-year-old James A. Michener has taken himself off life-sustaining kidney dialysis.

Linda Milanesi, spokeswoman for the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa., said the renowned and prolific author opted to stop the medical treatment last week.

His condition has not changed since his decision.

“Basically, he’s stable and resting at home,” she said Sunday, referring questions to long-time Michener friend and associate John Kings.

“Mr. Michener is undergoing evaluations. He is perfectly well and comfortable,” Kings said in a brief statement.

“He has spent his life respecting the press and what it has to do,” Kings added. “He asks now that the press respect his privacy.”

Kings would not take any questions.

An unidentified source told the Daily News of New York: “He’s decided he doesn’t want to go on living like this.”

The writer has more than 40 titles to his name. He released his latest book, “A Century of Sonnets,” earlier this year.

Michener’s literary success began with “Tales of the South Pacific.” The book won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize and was the basis for “South Pacific,” a long-running Broadway musical and later a motion picture.

For decades, Michener, a former teacher, wandered the globe from Japan and Korea to Hungary, Hawaii, Afghanistan, Spain, South Africa, Colorado, Israel, Chesapeake Bay, Poland, Texas, Alaska and the Caribbean.

He lived in every part of the world he wrote about.

He has made his main home in Austin since working on his 1985 novel, “Texas,” his longest book (1,096 pages) and a 1 million-copy seller.

Other Michener books include, “Sports in America” (1976), “Chesapeake” (1978), “Space” (1982), “Poland” (1983), “Alaska” (1987, “Journey” (1988), “Caribbean” (1989), “Mexico” (1992), “Literary Reflections” (1993), and “This Noble Land: My Vision of America” (1996).

His books have argued for universal ideals: religious and racial tolerance, hard work and self-reliance.

Michener has shared his fortunes with a number of educational institutions, making him one of the world’s leading philanthropists.

He’s made the University of Texas, which is based in Austin, among his biggest beneficiaries of late, donating more than $37 million in gifts, including a $15 million donation in 1992.


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