'Angela's Ashes' author Frank McCourt dies at 78

Author Frank McCourt:File photoMcCourt's brother Malachy McCourt, also a writer, said his brother suffered from metastasized melanoma and had become gravely ill with meningitis.

McCourt had been treated in hospital for melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer that can spread through the body, and his condition had deteriorated rapidly over the last two weeks.

The Brooklyn-born Irish-American author had taught English for decades in New York City.
His hard-luck family had gone back to Ireland after his birth, and he scraped together savings to return at age 19, in 1949.

After McCourt retired, he turned to writing the novel "Angela's Ashes", based on his difficult childhood with a father who drank and several siblings who died. The book sold 6 million copies and brought him the Pulitzer Prize in 1997.

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