Author Nicholas Evans, best known for writing The Horse Whisperer, has died at the age of 72 of a heart attack.
His literary agency confirmed today that the best-selling author, screenwriter and journalist died suddenly on Tuesday.
“United Agents is deeply saddened to announce the untimely death of acclaimed best-selling author Nicholas Evans who died suddenly on Tuesday this week of a heart attack, at the age of 72,” a statement issued this morning read.
The Horse Whisperer, published in 1995, has sold about 15 million copies worldwide and was a bestseller in 20 countries.
It was Evans’ first novel and follows a complex and talented trainer who is assigned to help an injured teenage girl and her horse return to health after a serious injury.
Such was his popularity, and the book was adapted for the big screen three years later by Hollywood star Robert Redford, who starred, with Scarlett Johansson playing young contestant Grace McClain in her breakout role.
Kristen Scott Thomas played her mother Annie, while Sam Neill played her father Robert.
Renowned English writer Nicholas Evans poses during a photo session in Paris in January 2012
The Horse Whisperer, published in 1995, has sold about 15 million copies worldwide and was the number one bestseller in 20 countries.
His agency confirmed in a statement released this morning that the bestselling author died suddenly on Tuesday
Robert Redford and Kristen Scott Thomas are photographed during a scene in the movie adaptation of The Horse Whisperer
Scarlett Johansson (pictured) played young contestant Grace McClain in what was her breakout role
Evans and James Nesbitt sit down for interviews as part of the TV show Living the Life in 2012
Evans is best known for writing his bestselling novel The Horse Whisperer
Dell Publishing agreed to pay US$3.15 million (£2.1 million at the time) for the North American rights to the film.
Born in Worcestershire in 1950, he went on to study law at Oxford before graduating with first class honors.
He worked as a journalist for the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle before moving to television.
Evans has produced films on US and Middle Eastern politics for the current affairs program Weekend World.
By the 1980s he was working for London Weekend Television, producing films about Sir Laurence Olivier, Francis Bacon and David Hockney on The South Bank Show.
But while living in southwest England, he met a blacksmith and got to know equine mediators who supposedly could cure traumatized horses.
The idea originated in the bestselling book, which has now been translated into 36 languages.
Writing to the Daily Mail in November 2020 about the book, he said: “Writing a novel is usually like climbing a mountain: it is slow and arduous and you can get lost easily.
But with The Horse Whisperer, I could see the story lay in front of me, like stones across a river. All I had to do was put one foot in front of the other.
I realized I was telling an old kind of tale – the kind that humans have told each other for thousands of years.
Evans was photographed at his home near Totnes, Devon, in 2010. The famous author died after a heart attack on Tuesday
Evans poses for a photo at the annual Oxford Literary Festival at the Oxford Union in April 2005
Hollywood star Robert Redford starred as the film’s main character three years after the book was published
Evans also worked on a number of films for both television and film before writing the popular novel
It is about good people who are drowning in a dark whirlpool of pain. In the end, love reaches out to save them and pull them out of the clouds. Think of the angel who rescues Daniel in the den of lions.
For those who haven’t read the book yet, I won’t say much more. All I would add is that it is not a book about horses. It’s about us, how easy it is to get lost and disconnect us all from the things that really matter.
“And how, if we are lucky, pure love and selflessness can save us.”
While writing about the movie adaptation on his website, Evans revealed that he doesn’t think the second half of the movie “worked,”
He said, “While I think Robert Redford did a great job with the horse work and the whole look of the picture (and the acting, of course, was great), I don’t think the second half of the movie was really successful.
I kind of got lost. I don’t think they really had the script before they started shooting and once you start, there isn’t enough time to fix it.
“The end, in my opinion, completely misses the point of the book.”
He went on to write four more novels – The Loop (1998), The Smoke Jumper (2001), The Divide (2005) and The Brave (2010).
Evans and his family fell ill in 2008 after experiencing a near-fatal reaction when they ate a deadly web mushroom – which they thought was harmless.
The author, his wife, singer-songwriter Charlotte, and her brother and sister-in-law suffered from kidney failure and endured dialysis after the accident.
Mr Evans was saved after nearly three years on a waiting list when his only daughter gave him one of her kidneys in a live donation.
Evans was photographed at his home in Totnes, Devon, in September 2010
Evans and his family fell ill in 2008 after experiencing a near-fatal reaction when they cooked deadly mushrooms for them.
Evans, then 61, said his daughter’s donation – which happened at Hammersmith Hospital last July – gave him his life back.
It was Evans himself who picked the mushrooms from his brother-in-law’s 13,000-acre estate in the Scottish Highlands and then cooked them before serving them to his family.
He had accidentally harvested a bunch of killer webcams while staying with his brother-in-law, Sir Alistair Gordon Cumming, and wife Lady Louisa.
After smearing them with butter and parsley, he served them for dinner to his wife, Charlotte, and the hosts. The next day they were all taken to the hospital.
In an interview after the accident Nicholas said, “I took the mushrooms home, and I showed them around the corner and the general comment was, ‘Wow! “
So I chopped it up and cooked it with butter and parsley. The big four ate them while they were sitting outside. They tasted a bit bitter but Alistair and I had plenty, and the two women weren’t too much.
Fortunately none of the four children [Nick and Charlotte have a six-year-old son, Finlay, and their hosts have three children] He wanted to try them.
“The doctors then told us that if they had done that, the fungus would have killed them.”
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