This is about a week after the fact and I'm sure that if you care at all you've already gotten the news but it seems that Terry Pratchett has Alzheimer's. He posted a public message about it and the only details he provided was that it was some form of early onset version. As far as I can recall, that's never a good thing. The early onset ones are usually genetic in basis and hit harder and faster once disease progression is underway. All of this comes on top of the fact that he had a mini-stroke back in August and didn't even realize it until recently.
When I think about it, it's around the time that authors I follow should start kicking off. Robert Jordan's passing was a bit early and ahead of schedule but I'm reaching an age where a lot of the actors and authors I loved are hitting ages where they'll start dying off. I still remember when John Candy passed away and thinking to myself that that was the beginning.
All in all, I really wish it were someone else other than Pratchett. Over the past few years, I've become more and more of a fan, due in no small part to audiobooks. I tend to listen to them over and over, going through the various story tracks one after another. Even as we speak I've got Thud! playing and I've been through the whole Guards series of books at least a half dozen times. Multiply that by the hours each book takes to play and it's not an insignificant number. I find the constant readings to be sort of comforting, much like how when I lived in chicago my tv was on all the time turned to one of the cable news networks. It's just something you can follow along with half your mind without it actually distracting you. I get out of audiobooks what I imagine a lot of people get out of just playing the radio.
Oh well. There's no reason to get maudlin about it yet. Even with early onset, he'll likely have at least another decade to work with. It's not medical defecits that will stop him as much as just the existance of the mortality looming I imagine. As he's said many times, he's got more money than he knows what to do with so there's no fiancial incentive to keep writing. He may just decide that given the situation, it's a good time to slow down and spend more time with friends and family or in trying out new treatments. I can't begrudge him that, but it's going to be a shame to not see as many books come rolling off the line.