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Elizabeth Wurtzel, ‘Prozac Nation’ author, dies at 52

Reports say the cause of death was metastatic breast cancer.

Book cover of “Prozac Nation”
This undated photo provided by Penguin Random House shows the book cover of Elizabeth Wurtzel’s memoir, “Prozac Nation.” Wurtzel, whose blunt and painful confessions of her struggles with addiction and depression in the best-selling “Prozac Nation” made her a voice and a target for an anxious generation, died Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, at age 52.
Courtesy of Riverhead/Penguin Random House via AP

Elizabeth Wurtzel, the writer best known for her best-selling 1994 memoir “Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America,” has died at a hospital in Manhattan, according to reports from the Washington Post and The New York Times. She was 52.

Named for the popular anti-depressant, “Prozac Nation” chronicled Wurtzel’s struggle with depression and drug addiction with candor and humor, and is credited with helping to destigmatize conversations about mental health.

The Times reports the cause of death to be metastatic breast cancer, resulting from the BRCA genetic mutation. Wurtzel became an advocate for BRCA testing after her diagnosis, writing in a 2015 article for The Times, “I DID not know I have the BRCA mutation. I did not know I would likely get breast cancer when I was still young, when the disease is a wild animal. I caught it fast and I acted fast, but I must have looked away: By the time of my double mastectomy, the cancer had spread to five lymph nodes.”

Wurtzel went on to write, “According to the PET scan, I am cancer free. I am cured. But cancer plays hide and seek in wunderkind ways. It is the sparkle of dirt at the bottom of the dustbin that never gets tossed.”

Wurtzel is the author of several additional books, including “More, Now, Again: A Memoir of Addiction” and “Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women.”