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Famed Crime Writer Elmore Leonard Has Died

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Author Elmore Leonard (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

Author Elmore Leonard (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

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DETROIT (WWJ) - Crime writer Elmore Leonard has died.

Leonard, a local legend and publishing icon, died at his home in Oakland County Tuesday morning. He was 87-years-old.

A post on Leonard’s Facebook page says complications from a stoke he suffered earlier this month had something to do with his death.

“The post I dreaded to write, and you dreaded to read. Elmore passed away at 7:15 this morning from complications from his stroke. He was at home surrounded by his loving family. More to follow,” the posting read.

Leonard, who was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, spent the early years on the road as his father’s job with General Motors kept the family moving from city to city. When Leonard was 9-years-old, his family found their permanent home in Detroit.

Leonard, who graduated from the University of Detroit after spending a few years in the U.S. Navy, got his first job as a copy writer at the Campbell-Ewald ad agency.

That job kick started Leonard’s long and illustrious career. In 1951, Leonard’s first work “Trail of the Apaches” was published.

Leonard followed up by successfully producing hit after hit, as “Get Shorty,” “Out Of Sight,” “Hombre,” and ” Rum Punch” made the best sellers list, along with several others.

Many of his books were made into movies, affording him the opportunity to rub elbows with Hollywood big guns. Most recently, the popular TV series “Justified,” on the FX Network, was based on Leonard’s “Fire in the Hole.”

But to those who knew him, Leonard stayed genuine and never let the fame go to his head. To the locals, Leonard was just another good neighbor, and he was often seen grocery shopping in Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills.

Leonard leaves behind five children, twelve grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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