Frank McCourt, 78, who recently battled melanoma and contracted meningitis about two weeks ago, "is not expected to live," his younger (by one year) brother told Reuters. The author is in a New York hospice, "his faculties shutting down," according to his sibling.
After the best-selling Angela's Ashes, which tracked his unimaginably impoverished childhood and was adapted to the screen in 1999, McCourt went on to write two other memoirs, 1999's 'Tis and 2005's Teacher Man, about his experiences as a New York City high-school and college instructor. He also penned a 2007 children's book, Angela and the Baby Jesus.
Long EmbarrassedTelling why he wrote about his childhood some six decades after he experienced it, Frank McCourt told C-Span Booknotes" host Brian Lamb in 1997: "I always wanted to be a writer, but I didn't know that I wanted to write about this lane in Limerick, this slum. Because anybody that comes from those circumstances doesn't want to write about it. You're ashamed of it. You don't have any self-esteem.
"So it wasn't 'til I somehow began to gain some approval or acceptance from my students in New York or from friends of mine … I started talking about growing up in Limerick and – I suppose some of the stuff I told them was amusing and they'd laugh because … poverty is so absurd."
Frank McCourt has been married to his second wife, Ellen, since 1994. He has a daughter, Maggie, with his first wife, as well as a granddaughter, Chiara, and two grandsons, Frank and Jack.