Many writers of the 20th Century - worryingly, many of them American - struggled with alcohol addiction. There is debate among some as to whether these addictions added to their greatness or were simply a numbing agent for other problems in their lives. It offers a different perspective on the worlds they create, such as that of The Great Gatsby. Is the scene Fitzgerald paints a celebration of the richness of life or a dark reflection of his own struggles?
With the glittering lifestyle that these writers lead when they reached fame, it is unsurprising that they were confronted with temptation that led to their disease. This list acknowledges the deaths of those great writers who died of alcoholism, along with their most famous works.
On December 21, 1940, The Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald died of a heart attack after years of alcohol abuse - an eerie mirror of the very lifestyle he depicted in his classic novel. He was 44 years old.
Age: Died at 44 (1896-1940)
Birthplace: Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America
Works: The Great Gatsby, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, This Side of Paradise, Tender Is the Night, Red-Headed Woman, + more
#15 on The Best Writers of All Timesee more on F. Scott Fitzgerald
On October 21, 1969, On the Road author Jack Kerouac died due to an internal hemorrhage caused by alcohol induced cirrhosis of the liver. He was 47 years old.
Age: Died at 47 (1922-1969)
Birthplace: Middlesex County, United States of America, Lowell, United States, with Territories, + more
Works: On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Visions of Cody, Big Sur, The Town and the City, + more
#92 on The Best American Poetssee more on Jack Kerouac
On March 26, 1959, The Big Sleep author Raymond Chandler died of pneumonial peripheral vascular shock and prerenal uremia. His body was ravaged by years of excessive drinking. Chandler was 70 years old.
Age: Died at 71 (1888-1959)
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
Works: Double Indemnity, Strangers on a Train, The Big Sleep, Murder, My Sweet, + more
#4 on The Best Mystery Authors
#4 on The Best Crime Authorssee more on Raymond Chandler
On August 25, 1984, Breakfast at Tiffany's and In Cold Blood author Truman Capote died of liver cancer complicated by drug intoxication. He went to rehab several times to kick his drug and alcohol habits, but he always relapsed. Capote was 59 years old.
Age: Died at 60 (1924-1984)
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America
Works: The Innocents, In Cold Blood, Utterly Cold Blooded, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Beat the Devil, + more
#9 on The Best Gay Authors
#27 on The Best Suspense Authorssee more on Truman Capote