Colin Wilson, author of 'The Outsider,' dies at 82

LONDON (AP) — British author Colin Wilson, who gained fame with his first book, "The Outsider," has died. He was 82.

Colin Stanley, Wilson's publisher and bibliographer, said the writer and philosopher never fully recovered from a stroke in 2011. Stanley said Friday that Wilson was admitted to a hospital in Cornwall, southwestern England, in October for pneumonia and died peacefully Dec. 5 with his wife, Joy, and daughter Sally by his side.

The 1956 publication of "The Outsider," a study of creative icons — from Vincent van Gogh to Franz Kafka and Friedrich Nietzsche — that espoused a brand of existentialist individualism, catapulted the writer to fame.

Orion Publishers described it as "a study of alienation, creativity and the modern mind." The book was hailed as the debut of a major new thinker, though a backlash soon followed from critics who sensed something sinister in Wilson's lionizing of individualism.

Nothing else Wilson wrote achieved the same level of success, though he went on produce more than 150 books, exploring interests in serial killers, extraterrestrials and the occult. His nonfiction books about crime and the paranormal — including "The Occult: A History" — and horror and science fiction novels such as "The Space Vampires" gained him a loyal cult following.

He is survived by Joy, their three children and a son from his first marriage.

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