Best-selling author Jerry Hopkins dies

Best-selling author Jerry Hopkins dies

Jerry Hopkins peruses the selection of insects at a Bangkok food stall in July of last year. He died on Sunday, his family announced. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Jerry Hopkins peruses the selection of insects at a Bangkok food stall in July of last year. He died on Sunday, his family announced. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Best-selling author and long-time Bangkok resident Jerry Hopkins died Sunday at Camillian Hospital after a long illness, his family announced. He was 82.

One of the country's most colourful foreign residents, Hopkins burst to international fame with publication of The New York Times best-selling biography of Jim Morrison of The Doors, to be followed by 39 mainstream books and more than 1,000 magazine articles.

His Thai wife Lamyai and his son Nick announced the American's death Sunday evening.

"It is with great sadness to report that Jerry Hopkins has passed away at 16.48 Sunday," she wrote to an internet discussion group.

Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course, according to friends.

The white-bearded Hopkins published what quickly became a cult classic on The Doors' lead singer entitled, No One Here Gets Out Alive, in 1990, and it was on the best-seller lists for two years.

His other biographical subjects include Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Raquel Welch, Yoko Ono, and Don Ho, collectively earning him the title "dean of the pop biographers." A profile published on his own website, JerryHopkins.com, says four million copies of his books, published in 23 countries, have been translated into 16 languages.

The Morrison biography was the main source of Oliver Stone's movie of the same name, while his 1971 book, Elvis: A Biography, became a 12-hour radio series broadcast by the BBC.

Hopkins moved to Thailand in 1993, where he quickly took to writing about local subjects.

In the mid-2000s, two collection of essays, Bangkok Babylon and Thailand Confidential profiled well-known and obscure residents, most of them foreigners.

Strange Foods (1999) and Extreme Cuisine (2004), fed into the popular curiosity that, as he put it, "what is considered odd in the West elsewhere is often merely lunch".

Until his illness, he and his Khmer-Thai wife commuted between their flat in Bangkok and a farm near the Cambodian border.

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