How did Gary Paulsen die? Beloved 'Hatchet' series author dies at 82

Newbery Medal-winning author Gary Paulsen passed away on October 13. Tributes pour in as the internet remembers the famous 'Hatchet' series author

                            How did Gary Paulsen die? Beloved 'Hatchet' series author dies at 82
Author Gary Paulson dies at 82 (Publishers Weekly/Twitter)

Beloved young adult literature writer Gary Paulsen has passed away on October 13, Publishers Weekly confirmed. The author of the famous 'Hatchet' series was 82 at the time of passing and is survived by his wife Ruth and three children -  Michael, Paulette, and Bill Paulsen. Few details were available about Paulsen's death, with a brief tweet from the magazine being the only confirmed source.

Paulsen isn't the only author who left for heavenly abode this year. In March, Norton Juster, who wrote 'The Phantom Tollbooth' died at 91. Then in June, journalist and author Janet Malcolm succumbed to lung cancer. Speaking of authors, in June, beloved children's writer Enid Blyton was dubbed "racist and xenophobic" by English Heritage, sparking a major controversy.


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While many authors courted controversy during their time, Paulsen preferred to stay well away from the limelight. His 'Hatchet' series was more focused on nature and the outdoors, which over the years have become an essential part of many people's lives. Personally too, Paulsen preferred to keep away from the press, living in relative isolation in Alaska, New Mexico, and on a houseboat in the Pacific.

How did Gary Paulsen die?

Details of Paulsen's death were not available, so we cannot say for sure what led to the author's death. The magazine simply tweeted, "Three-time Newbery Honor author Gary Paulsen, known for his wilderness adventure novels for children such as ‘Hatchet,’ died this morning at age 82." No other details were provided. 



Given that he lived largely away from the spotlight, we could not find any reports of Paulsen suffering from serious illness, or battling any major ailments, so the cause of his death does remain a mystery. He also doesn't maintain his own website or social media profiles, so there's no way to confirm what happened. The only known health scare he had was a heart disease back in the 90s, which led to his road trip from New Mexico to Alaska, as chronicled in the book 'Zero To Sixty'.

'He impacted so many lives with his incredible stories'

News of his death quickly spread, and tributes flowed in on social media. One person tweeted, "I know many mushers—myself included—who first fell in love with mushing through Gary Paulsen’s stories about his sled dogs. He changed lives in big ways; he wrote about wilderness, animals, fear, wonder with extraordinary grace. An incredible writer. May he rest in peace." Another commented, "RIP, Gary Paulsen. Thank you for changing my life."




"So sad to hear about the passing of Gary Paulsen. He impacted so many lives with his incredible stories. It was an honor to meet him many years ago. He will be dearly missed," one person tweeted. Another remembered, "reread The Car at the beginning of the pandemic, and it was just as good as I remembered. what an incredible writer. RIP Gary Paulsen." Another commented, "damn, rip to a legend i read so much gary paulsen as a kid."





Born in Minneapolis, Paulsen spent considerable time as an outdoorsman, hunting deer for sustenance. He also served in the Army and held numerous other jobs before finding his true calling in literature. In 1967, he published his first book 'Some Birds Don't Fly', which would go on to be the first of over 150