‘Last Lecture’ Professor Dies, and His Columnist Co-author Remembers Him

By: Dave Astor

Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon professor whose inspiring “last lecture” talk led to a bestselling book, died at 4 a.m. this morning of pancreatic cancer. He was 47.

“The Last Lecture” book, published this April by Hyperion, was co-authored by Wall Street Journal columnist Jeffrey Zaslow.

Pausch was already terminally ill when he gave a moving and upbeat “last lecture” in September that stirred a huge amount of interest. A big reason why Pausch’s comments quickly spread worldwide was a Journal column Zaslow wrote about the talk that was accompanied by a Web video.

Zaslow subsequently took a leave of absence from the newspaper to work on the book, which reportedly drew a $6.7-million advance.

In a statement, Zaslow said: “Randy had a remarkable ability to reach into his own life and find an anecdote, a funny story, an uplifting memory — and then translate it in ways that resonated deeply with the rest of us.

“I first saw him move and inspire 400 people at his last lecture. It was astonishing to then watch his message leave that room and touch millions worldwide. As his co-author, it was a great honor to see his love of life from a front-row seat. I’ll miss him.?

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