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Hungarian writer Peter Esterhazy dead at 66

Hungarian writer and Kossuth Prize laureate Peter Esterhazy, seen last month at Festive Book Week, an annual festival of Hungarian books, in downtown Budapest, Hungary. | Zoltan Balogh/MTI via AP

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Peter Esterhazy, one of Hungary’s most renowned contemporary authors, has died at 66.

Mr. Esterhazy, who announced last year that he had pancreatic cancer, died Thursday, his family said through the Magveto Publishing house.

Mr. Esterhazy’s most famous book was “Celestial Harmonies” (2000), a partly autobiographical account of the history of his family with aristocratic roots. While often in the middle of some of the key events and eras of European and Hungarian history, the book is nonetheless a mostly mosaic-like account of their long decline.

Born in Budapest on April 14, 1950, Mr. Esterhazy obtained a mathematics degree in 1974 before becoming a writer. He was very popular in Germany and also received the Kossuth Prize, Hungary’s highest cultural distinction, in 1996.

Mr. Eszterhazy is survived by his wife Margit and four children.