Hugo Claus (1929-2008)

Writer Hugo Claus dies by euthanasia

From correspondents in Brussels

March 20, 2008 05:54am

Article from: Agence France-Presse

VETERAN Belgian author Hugo Claus, considered one of the most important contemporary Dutch language authors, has died by euthanasia aged 78, his publisher announced.

The author of the 1983 novel The Sorrow of Belgium had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease when he died today in hospital in Antwerp, northern Belgium.

It was known that the Bruges native had requested euthanasia, which is authorised in Belgium and the Netherlands.

His Dutch publishing house, De Bezige Bij (The Busy Bee), said in the name of the writer’s family that he had chosen the exact time of his death.

“He stipulated the moment of his death and asked for euthanasia,” it said, without giving details.

“Hugo Claus leaves an impressive body of work,” the publisher said.

“He was endowed with an inimitable imagination and unbounded confidence. He worked equally well in poetry and theatre as in prose and received numerous literary prizes including the Dutch order of letters in 1986.”

With a reputation as a non-conformist, the multi-talented Claus was also a poet, painter, playwright and film director.

The provocative Sorrow of Belgium was an unsentimental look at Belgium and its collaborators during World War II when the country was invaded by Nazi Germany.

His name was often linked to the Nobel Literature prize though he had given up hope of ever winning.

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  1. drew kunz says:

    I’ve been thinking of the CoBrA artists lately…

    having just seen my old copy of The Sorrow of Belgium on the self…

    very sad news…

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