MINNEAPOLIS – Best-selling author Vince Flynn, who wrote the Mitch Rapp counterterrorism thriller series and sold more than 15 million books in the U.S. alone, died Wednesday in Minnesota after a more than two-year battle with prostate cancer, according to friends and his publisher. He was 47.
Flynn was supporting himself by bartending when he self-published his first novel, Term Limits, in 1997 after getting more than 60 rejection letters. After it became a local best-seller, Pocket Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint, signed him to a two-book deal – and Term Limits became a New York Times best-seller in paperback.
The St. Paul-based author also sold millions of books in the international market and averaged about a book a year, most of them focused on Rapp, a CIA counterterrorism operative. His 14th novel, The Last Man, was published last year.
He counted former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton among his fans.
Country singer Slim Whitman dies
Country singer Slim Whitman, the high-pitched yodeler who sold millions of records through ever-present TV ads in the 1980s and 1990s and whose song saved the world in the film comedy Mars Attacks!, died Wednesday at a Florida hospital.
He was 90.
Whitman died of heart failure at Orange Park Medical Center in Miami, his son-in-law Roy Beagle said.
Whitman’s tenor falsetto and ebony mustache and sideburns became global trademarks – and an inspiration for countless jokes – thanks to the TV ads that pitched his records.
But he was a serious musical influence on early rock, and in the British Isles, he was known as a pioneer of country music for popularizing the style there.
Whitman recorded more than 65 albums and sold millions of records, including 4 million of All My Best that was marketed on TV.
War correspondent dies in car accident
Michael Hastings, the war correspondent whose unflinching reporting from Afghanistan led to the resignation of a top U.S. army general, has died in a car accident in Los Angeles, according to his employer and family.
Hastings, who was 33, wrote about politics for the news website BuzzFeed.
Hastings won a 2010 George Polk Award for magazine reporting for his Rolling Stone cover story The Runaway General.
His story was credited with ending Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s career after it revealed the military’s candid criticisms of the Obama administration.