Joan Didion, legendary American writer, dead at 87

Joan Didion has died at the age of 87, her publisher A.A. Knopf has confirmed.

The legendary essayist, novelist and screenwriter — who has long been revered as one of America’s preeminent writers — passed away at her Manhattan home Thursday morning due to complications from Parkinson’s disease.

She is preceded in death by her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and their daughter, Quintana Roo.

Didion is best known for chronicling the 1960s counterculture in her groundbreaking book of essays “Slouching Towards Bethlehem.” She also won the 2005 National Book Award for Nonfiction for best-selling memoir “The Year of Magic Thinking.”

In 2012, she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by then-President Barack Obama, who described her as one of the “sharpest and most respected observers of American politics and culture.”

Didion, born in Sacramento in 1934, was the descendant of pioneers who crossed the Donner Pass in California in the 19th century.

The daughter of an Army Air Corps member, Didion frequently moved around as a child, before graduating from the University of California, Berkley back in 1956. She embarked on a writing career after winning a Vogue essay contest in her senior year.

Didion relocated to New York City and spent seven years at Vogue, eventually working her way up to associate features editor. Whist in the Big Apple, she met the writer John Gregory Dunne, whom she married in 1964.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

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