Elizabeth Wurtzel, journalist and bestselling author of Prozac Nation, died today at a hospital in New York City at the age of 52.
Wurtzel previously announced she had breast cancer in 2015, undergoing a double mastectomy. Her husband Jim Freed reported to the Washington Post the cause of death was complications from leptomeningeal disease, a condition in which cancer spreads to cerebrospinal fluid.
Wurtzel had a long career as an author and a journalist, but she is perhaps best known for her debut memoir Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America. The book was published in 1994 when she was 27. The book, an unflinching portrait of Wurtzel’s struggle with depression and drug addiction, became a bestseller and helped encourage a resurgence of the memoir genre in the 1990s. The book was later turned into a movie in 2001 starring Christina Ricci.
Wurtzel was already working as a music critic for The New Yorker and New York Magazine before publishing her debut memoir. Later she published Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women in 1998 and More, Now, Again: A Memoir of Addiction in 2001.
“I was born with a mind that is compromised by preternatural unhappiness, and I might have died very young or done very little,” Wurtzel wrote in 2013. “Instead, I made a career out of my emotions.”