Publicist Laura Gilmore said Harris died Thursday night after being stricken at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, and a cause of death had not been determined. She said Harris, who lived in Atlanta, fell ill on a train to Los Angeles a few days ago and blacked out for a few minutes, but seemed fine after that.
Report from Associated Press about the passing of author E. Lynn Harris.
In 1999, Harris told Metro Weekly that he lived in Washington, DC and hung out at Bachelor's Mill and Nob Hill in the late `80s and early `90s, when he began his writing career that led to a string of bestsellers about the lives of black gay and bisexual men and their relationships. Works included ''Invisible Life,'' ''Just As I Am,'' and most recently, ''Basketball Jones.''
''I wrote letters--that was about it. I always say my writing career came about after getting so down and depressed. I was actually living here in Washington--this was the late '80s, early '90s-- losing a lot of friends to AIDS. I just wasn't happy with the state of my life and wanted to do something different. Writing seemed to help....''
''I never really came out officially to my family, I just became more at ease with myself. It wasn't something I announced, like "Mom, I think we need to talk." What I found out was that the more comfortable you are, the more comfortable the people around you are....''
''A lot of people ask me what I want to be identified as: a black male writer, a gay writer, a black gay writer. Eventually, it all boils down to writing. Abide With Me was number one in New York City and number two in Washington. It doesn't say 'The number one book by a black gay man.' The end result should just be the words....''
Outtakes from Metro Weekly's interview with E. Lynn Harris from 1999.. (Metro Weekly)