James Oliver Rigney Jr., who wrote under the name Robert Jordan, passed on today, at age 59; from complications arising from a congenital disease, cardiac amyloidosis.
Rigney was a helicopter pilot in Viet Nam; earning the DFC and Bronze star for valor (with repeat awards for each). After returning from 'Nam in 1970, he attended the Citadel (the military college of South Carolina, his home state) earning a degree in nuclear engineering. He was employed in this capacity by the U.S. Navy, until he became a full time author (some time between 1977 and 1980).
In the 27 years since selling his first book, he wrote 24 novels; the most famous being the "Wheel Of Time" series, which has stretched over 12 volumes (the final volume is incomplete at this time)and 17 years.
I was deeply involved in the early years of the Dragonmount online role playing community.
Although we initially had some problems with Jordans attorneys and publisher; he stepped in personally and not only stopped the trouble, but (with significant efforts on the parts of site management) enthusiastically embraced the community, and made us an official part of "the empire" as it were.
Soon after, I moved out of the country and lost track of what happened with the community.
Hard to believe that was almost 10 years ago.
Yaknow, I've been making jokes for years about him finishing the damn series before he died...
Now I feel like an asshole.