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Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of Prozac Nation, has died
Via Twitter @LizzieWurtzel

Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of Prozac Nation, has died

The writer and journalist has passed away aged 52, following a battle with metastatic breast cancer

Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of the bestselling memoir, Prozac Nation, has died aged 52. The writer and journalist passed away in Manhattan following a battle with metastatic breast cancer.

Writing about her diagnosis in the Guardian in 2018, Wurtzel said: “I hate it when people say that they are sorry about my cancer. Really? Have they met me? I am not someone that you feel sorry for. I am the original mean girl.”

After finding out her cancer was a result of the BRCA (breast cancer) gene, the writer became vocal in encouraging women to get tested for the mutation, utilising her platform to raise awareness. In an article for The New York Times in 2015, Wurtzel wrote: “I could have avoided all this if I had been tested for the BRCA mutation. All Ashkenazi Jewish women should be tested, because we have it at least 10 times the rate of the rest of the population.”

The article concluded: “I recovered from drug addiction in 1998, and that will teach you to take any disaster as a day in the life. But now I live in the atmosphere of cancer.” 

Wurtzel addressed her struggles with addiction in her debut book, Prozac Nation, which saw her rise to fame at the age of 26. The memoir explored her experience with clinical depression, and is regarded as opening the dialogue about mental illness. Born in 1967, Wurtzel began going to therapy at the age of 11 after self-harming at school, and suffered with depression throughout her teen years. At university, she began taking drugs as a way to self-medicate.

Writing for Dazed in 2013, Wurtzel said of her debut: “I don’t write because I feel like it or have something to say: I write because it is what I do. I made Prozac Nation necessary reading because I write necessarily. I tell my story because it is about everyone else.”