Author JD Salinger dies
American author of The Catcher in the Rye dies age 91.
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2010 02:33 GMT
JD Salinger achieved fame for his book The Catcher in the Rye but later withdrew from the public eye

JD Salinger, the American author of The Catcher in the Rye, has died, aged 91.

Salinger died of natural causes on Wednesday at his home in the state of New Hampshire, his son, the actor Matt Salinger, said in a statement.

Born Jerome David Salinger on New Year's Day in 1919 in Manhattan, New York, he was a giant of American literature whose novel The Catcher in the Rye lent a voice to the angst and despair of generations of adolescents.

One of the most admired and influential US writers following the success of his novel, the son of an Irish mother and Jewish father with Polish roots published nothing after 1965 and had not been interviewed since 1980.

The Catcher in the Rye was an instant success and remains recommended reading at many high schools, selling around 250,000 copies a year.

However, the novel was also sharply criticised for its liberal use of swear words and open references to sex, and was banned in some countries.

Reclusive writer

Mystery surrounded much of the last five decades of Salinger's life.

After being overwhelmed by his new fame, he withdrew from public life, retreating to his house perched on a tree-blanketed hill in the small town of Cornish.

Memoirs written by his daughter and a former lover affirmed that Salinger still wrote, but there has been no sign of any new book despite the entreaties of his legions of fans.

In a rare interview with the Boston Sunday Globe newspaper in 1980, Salinger said: "I love to write, and I assure you I write regularly. But I write for myself and I want to be left absolutely alone to do it."

News in 1997 that his last published work Hapworth 16: 1924, which appeared in the New Yorker magazine, was about to be reissued in hard print sparked excitement in the literary world. But the publication date was frequently postponed, with no reason given.

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