Obituaries in the news

By: By The Associated Press
By: By The Associated Press

Maria Antonietta Berlusconi Beretta

MILAN (AP) - Maria Antonietta Berlusconi Beretta, the sister of Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, has died. She was 65.

Emergency services in the northern city of Milan said an ambulance was called to Berlusconi Beretta's house Thursday but there was nothing medics could do to save her. No cause of death was given.

The premier's sister largely stayed away from the limelight and Italian media remembered her as a patron of the arts and founder of a ballet school in Milan.

Italy's 72-year-old premier also has a younger brother, businessman Paolo Berlusconi. Their mother, Rosa Bossi Berlusconi, died just over a year ago at 97. She had at times campaigned for her billionaire son, Italy's longest-serving premier since World War II.

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Philip Jose Farmer

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - Philip Jose Farmer, one of the most celebrated science fiction, fantasy and short story writers of the 1960s and '70s, has died. He was 91.

Farmer died Wednesday in his sleep, according to a message posted on his official Web site.

The longtime Peoria resident wrote more than 75 novels, including the Riverworld and World of Tiers series. He won the Hugo Award three times and the Grand Master Award for Science Fiction in 2001.

Farmer's first published story, "The Lovers," caught the attention of the science fiction world in 1952 with one of the genre's first serious treatments of sexuality. At the time, he was working full time at a Peoria steel mill and writing on the side.

"The Lovers" was based on a love affair between a man on Earth and an alien woman, and Farmer rocked the science fiction community by dealing with sex in a frank manner. The story inspired some of the greatest science fiction writers, including Robert Heinlein, whose classic "Stranger in a Strange Land" was dedicated to Farmer.

Farmer tried to survive as a full-time freelance writer but finances forced him back to work as a technical writer in the defense industry in 1956. He bounced from New York to Arizona and California before moving back to central Illinois in 1969 to concentrate on his science fiction writing.

Farmer's last novel, "The City Beyond Play," was published in 2007.


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