Bestselling fantasy novelist Terry Goodkind, author of the epic fantasy series Sword of Truth, died on September 17 at 72. The cause of his death was not announced.

Goodkind was born in Omaha, Neb., and worked as woodworker and wildlife artist. Although diagnosed as dyslexic, his knack for storytelling to amuse himself eventually led to writing novels. His first book, 1994's Wizard’s First Rule, was acquired at auction by Tor Books, which went on to be Goodkind's longtime publisher, for a then–record advance of $275,000.

Wizard’s First Rule is the first book in Goodkind's acclaimed Sword of Truth series, the story of a woodland guide in a fantasy realm who learns that he is a First Wizard, whose destiny is to the save the world. The series has since grown to 21 volumes, been adapted into a TV series, sold millions of copies, and been translated into more than 20 languages. Goodkind is also the author of the Children of D’Hara and Nicci Chronicles series, which are based on characters from the Sword of Truth series, as well as a number of standalone novels. The most recent volume of the Sword of Truth series, Heart of Black Ice, was published by Tor Books in January 2019.

Goodkind’s works were influenced by the works and themes of Objectivist novelist Ayn Rand. He also declined to describe his works as traditional fantasy, explaining that they are focused on "human themes" and values. He was also a semi-professional auto racer, and competed under his own racing team.