RIP Rob Holdstock

Sunday, November 29th, 2009
Rob and Sarah together

Rob and Sarah together

At 4 o’clock this morning Rob Holdstock passed away.

He had been in intensive care since the 18th of November when he collapsed due to an E. coli infection.

Sincere sympathies to his partner Sarah Biggs and both their families.

Rob was one of the best fantasy writers of his generation, and a man with a huge appetite for life. There was nothing he liked better than the company of good friends, a cracking meal, drink and laughter.  His departure at only 61 years old is a tremendous loss.

He will be greatly missed.

173 Responses to “RIP Rob Holdstock”

  1. Jim Flynn says:

    As a new fan I feel I hardly new the man and his works, yet still am shocked and saddened. My sympathies to Mr. Holdstock’s family and friends. We will all miss him.

  2. Kat Hooper says:

    Mr. Holdstock is one of my very favorite authors.
    I was reading Avilion when I heard the news.
    He will truly be missed.
    Condolences to his family from FantasyLiterature.com.
    Kat for FanLit

  3. Fenran says:

    My condolences… it’s a such great pain to lose a great, great writer. Mythago will live forever inside us. RIP dear friend. Hasta siempre.

    Roberto, Spain.

  4. J Rowe says:

    I discovered you nearly 20 years ago, went away and came back again only last month. I’ve just read Avilion and re-read Where Time Winds Blow – what an inspiring writer and such a shame to be lost so soon. Will look for you out in the wood.

  5. Francesco Vitellini says:

    I discovered “Mythago Woods” on a rainy autumn day, many years ago. It opened a world to me.

    Thank you Mr. Holdstock.

    You made my world and my life better.
    May you be in peace wherever your spirit may be now.
    My sympathies to your family and friends, who were blessed knowing you personally.

    Francesco, Italy.

  6. Alessandro Piredda says:

    … I will pray for you…
    No matter what your life might be, no matter what your eyes can see or what air you can breathe, you will not be the same once you read about Robert Holdstock.

    I hope you’ve reached your lavondyss, and i’m sure that you’ll live forever into our little mytago wood.

    If anybody reads this, please light a candle now and add to your signature on web the sentence: “Robert, you’re still living”

  7. Jo Raine says:

    His imagination and skill at writing seemed boundless. The world is surely a poorer place without him in it and I, as will many many others, will treasure the books that are his legacy always.

  8. Alas! Within deep wood to Lavondyss, you great among greats, Steven Huxley, finest and mighty on my life. Thanks for the green. Than you very much.

  9. Rebecca Getchell says:

    I just can’t believe this… He was greatly loved! I have been, for the past year, doing research for my thesis, a philosophical system based upon Holdstock’s works, specifically The Mythago Wood Cycle. In all my research I didn’t even find out until now that he passed…

    I hope to do a lecture series and had dreamed he might have joined me as a guest speaker. I grieve the loss of him. I hope my work will bring him the honor he deserved in life. He is the greatest literary rival of Tolkien.

    I found the ancient home I belonged to in Ryhope Wood with him and this bleeds my heart.

    My condolences… fare thee well great mind… may your myth imago not break too many twigs.

  10. Nora Storm says:

    Thank you, Robert, where ever you now are. At this moment, I don’t’ even have words to tell how sad these news made me. It’s part of life, we all will find the last gate one day, but I still can’t stop grieving. It might not be the end, but we don’t see yet what lies there.

    Thank you for every word you gave us. Thank you for all the inspiration you gave. Thank you.

  11. Rob Verheul says:

    Dear Rob

    I’ve known you most part of my life.
    Thank you for all those nice moments I had and still have by reading your fantastic works.
    I’ll hope we’ll ride horses together in Lavondyss some day.

    Till then my friend.

    Respect

  12. Alec says:

    I am from Africa so never met Mr. Holdstock but his books greatly inspired me. Started off reading his “RAVEN” 5-book series (with mr. Wells) & was hooked…..wish I had a chance to meet him and tell him what a wonderful writer he is.

    Rest in Peace Rob. Godspeed always…

  13. Tim says:

    I just found this out today and am greatly saddened. Robert became my favorite writer and managed to nose Harlan Ellison out of that position. Never has a writer so ably made me feel like I was there in the places he wrote about.

    Lavondyss welcomes you. May you walk out of the fire.

  14. Paul Bolland says:

    One of my paternal Great Grandmothers was Charlotte Holdstock. She was born in Kent. I have no idea at this point in time if there is a family connection to Robert, but there was a genealogical ‘oh!’ moment when I found his name during a Google search the best part of two years ago…
    My partner, Helen, an avid reader of fantasy and like me a great lover of all things mythically and historically British, was greatly surprised that she had not heard of this respected homegrown author. How sad we later were to find he was no longer with us.
    We have both since read the thoroughly absorbing work that is ‘Mythago Wood’, and quite frankly are surprised that his name was not as well known as it deserved to be.
    We send our heartfelt condolences to his family.

  15. I’m so sorry to have heard this news.

    He inscribed my copy of Lavondyss “To yet another born again pagan,” and his writing has been deeply inspirational to me. Two twigs and a bone, tied up with a feather and thread, and some intensely wonderful books, and the memory of his smile.

    Thank you for keeping this Web site open. If you need help with it, feel free to contact me (but otherwise, no reply is needed, of course)

  16. David Zeeman says:

    To the family and friends of Mr. Holdstock,

    You have my sincerest condolences. I just finished “Avilion” last night, here in San Francisco, at about 11:00 PM PST. I had no idea Mr. Holdstock was sick; I just went to this website to check out more reviews and information on upcoming books.

    I am deeply grateful for Mr. Holdstock’s gift to the world.

    I am truly saddened by this news.

    I wish only the best for his loved ones in this difficult time.

    Bless and keep you always.

  17. Robert Morgan says:

    I first read “Mythago Wood” many years ago, and waited eagerly for every book that followed… Mr. Holdstock’s talent and imagination were an incredible gift that will be sorely missed by many… the worlds he created will always be there, waiting for future explorers…

    My condolences to his family and those close to him…

  18. Reinhard says:

    One of my paternal Great Grandmothers was Charlotte Holdstock. She was born in Kent. I have no idea at this point in time if there is a family connection to Robert, but there was a genealogical ‘oh!’ moment when I found his name during a Google search the best part of two years ago…My partner, Helen, an avid reader of fantasy and like me a great lover of all things mythically and historically British, was greatly surprised that she had not heard of this respected homegrown author. How sad we later were to find he was no longer with us.We have both since read the thoroughly absorbing work that is ‘Mythago Wood’, and quite frankly are surprised that his name was not as well known as it deserved to be.We send our heartfelt condolences to his family.
    +1

  19. Stephen says:

    I am pretty much a jerk about books. Not because of any great insight or erudition but because it takes a certain kind of writing to set me free. The first time I read Mythago Wood I knew that I had found a friend. I knew that I had found someone I could trust to set me free again. He did…over and over.

  20. Steve Doyle says:

    I was very saddened to know that Robert had died and I offer my most sincere condolences to his family. I only discovered this sad news last week and can’t understand how I managed to miss it last year. However, I feel owe him a debt of gratitude for many happy hours spent following his vivid imagination around Ryhope Wood, across Greece and many other amazing places and adventures and meeting so many fascinating characters and ideas. I’ve read just about all of his books over the last five or six years and have experienced enjoyment and challenge in equal measure in the reading of them. As many others have said in their messages, surely his work deserves a far wider readership. Bless you Robert!

  21. SHARON DUNFORD says:

    I found the news of Mr. Holdstock’s passing after it happened but it has taken me until now to be able to comment without blithering. He was one of the few truly great men I have ever had the honour of writing to – and we only exchanged a few emails! Of course I had read Mythago Wood years ago but only shortly thereafter had become computer-savvy enough to look for a WebSite for the man and his works. Imagine my surprise when I discovered there were other, whole Holdstock worlds out there for me to explore! I was reading “Scarrowfell” and wondered about something in it, so I sent a question to the Site, never expecting to hear from the man himself but rather an assistant or press secretary or such. Once again, imagine my shock when ROBERT BLOODY HOLDSTOCK emailed me himself only a few days later! I’ve NEVER had anyone as important as he was take the time to speak to me and frankly I was floored: he didn’t just make my day, he made my whole damn year – and at that point it was only September. Being garrulous of nature, I emailed him back, gushing and babbling I’m afraid, but also complaining that I simply could NOT find one particular book of his on this side of the pond (I live in Ontario, Canada) and asking if he could direct me to his publishers in the UK. This will come as no surprise to those of you who knew him, but he answered me yet again and offered to SEND ME THE DAMN BOOK HIMSELF! He double and triple checked my address to make sure it would arrive safely. And only a couple of weeks later, it did, filled with personal comments, observations and the thoughts of a more mature & seasoned writer than I. At this point it was still only at the beginning of November and I was certain I had found my muse – by now none of you will be surprised that I am a writer & poet myself, if only due to the glut of words! I wrote him a heartfelt and I felt rather juvenile thank-you, but I had waited too long and when I next checked the WebSite during the regular course of my day I found he was gone and never heard what I had to say. How those of you who knew him well are managing and coping I cannot imagine because even in that short short time in my few dealings with him I fell head over heels for the man and the writer and my heart was broken. Waiting the few weeks for Avilion to come out over here was horrendous and when the day finally arrived, I literally shoved my husband out of the house with orders to go to the bookstore and not return without it! (I have a disability and have difficulty getting out). Well of course we all know how wonderful it is, but I am still so ANGRY. There are still so many questions, so many paths left to explore, so many new ways to look at things and to talk to him about: it’s just so damn unfair. He was so young, so full of life, love and laughter – how can he be gone? I loved the Merlin series the most, as I have been firmly convinced since the age of 8 years that he, Arthur and Camelot existed and no one will ever change my mind about that. But what a wonderful new and exciting way to retell the old legend and the grand old man isn’t grand or old at all, but young forever and vibrant and filled with excitement and curiosity about the whole world. I pictured Mr. Holdstock himself as Merlin and his death turned my world upside down. And I didn’t even know him. To Ms. Biggs, his family and dear friends I extend my deepest sympathy and empathy: to lose such a man is agony and it will leave a hole that will never be filled. I truly wish I could say something that would help, but when giants fall, where do we find their like? I pray to all things in the Universe that are beyond my ken that this past year has at least brought you a measure of peace, but I cannot imagine that any acceptance has passed your way. You were blessed for having known him and I hope that can hold you in the dark of the night when you grieve and the dawn never seems to come. Go with all the Gods that claim you, Mr. Holdstock: I’m sure you will be in great demand at Valhalla as they drink and roister over their ale. I will honour you in my heart and keep your spirit forever with me – peace is with you. But not too much peace as I imagine you’d be bored to tears with it! Keep dreaming the dream all of you who knew him: I wish I had. Signed a Much Sadder and Lonelier Soul in Canada

  22. Mr. Kassner says:

    I am so sad to have come across this information. I read the Merlin Codex when I was in high school a few short years ago when at the time I was going through severe medical problems of my own involving a disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis. I was able to take such refuge in his stories when the realities of my life were so hard to deal with. Thankyou Robert!

  23. Stu says:

    I’ve been dipping into the world’s of Ryhope Wood for about 14 years. I’ve bought the Mythago novels many times in many editions, for myself, and as presents for friends who will truly appreciate them.

    I’ve only just started reading Avilion, and it occurred to me to have a hunt around the internet to see if any future publications were on the cards – which is how I belatedly discovered this tragic news. I’m moved to tears. An author of rare talent who will be sorely missed.