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Popular young adult author Vizzini, 32, dies in NY

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 20, 2013 at 5:12 pm •  Published: December 20, 2013
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NEW YORK (AP) — Ned Vizzini, a popular young adult author and television writer who wrote candidly and humorously about his struggles with depression, has committed suicide. He was 32.

Vizzini jumped off the roof of his parents' home in Brooklyn on Thursday, said his brother, Daniel Vizzini. New York City's medical examiner's office confirmed Friday that Vizzini took his own life and had sustained blunt impact injuries consistent with a fall. Daniel Vizzini said his brother had battled mental illness for much of his life and had "taken a turn for the worse" in recent weeks.

Ned Vizzini's autobiographical novel "It's Kind of a Funny Story" was adapted into a feature film of the same name. A resident of Los Angeles in recent years, he was a prolific author of fiction and nonfiction and spoke around the country about mental health and the healing effects of writing. On his website, he recommended Andrew Solomon's "The Noonday Demon" and the Dalai Lama's "The Art of Happiness" to readers coping with depression.

"At his signings, countless kids would approach him to say that he changed their lives — he gave them hope," his longtime publisher, Alessandra Balzer of Balzer + Bray, said in a statement Friday. Balzer + Bray is an imprint of HarperCollins.

John Green, Megan McCafferty and Sarah Dessen were among the authors mourning him on Twitter. In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, an emotional Judy Blume called him one of those people "who just touch your life in a certain way."

"I met him when he was a kid at some sort of get together that (New York City Mayor Mike) Bloomberg was having," she said. "And he was this incredibly lively young man and I told him, 'I can't wait to see what you do.'"

"It's Kind of a Funny Story," praised by The New York Times as "insightful and utterly authentic," was written in just a few weeks and published in 2006. Set in New York City, and 85 percent true, according to Vizzini, it told of an ambitious, but overworked high school student who considers jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge and ends up in a psychiatric ward.

"So why am I depressed?" asks narrator Craig Gilner. "That's the million-dollar question, baby, the Tootsie Roll question; not even the owl knows the answer to that one. I don't know either. All I know is the chronology."

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