August 26, 2005

U.S. playwright August Wilson dying of liver cancer

SEATTLE (Reuters) - August Wilson, an award-winning
playwright who focuses on the lives of African-Americans, has
liver cancer and may have only months to live, a spokeswoman
for Wilson said on Friday.

His condition was diagnosed in June and his prognosis was
serious, said the spokeswoman, who declined to be named.

"It's not like poker, you can't throw your hand in,"
Wilson, 60 told his hometown newspaper, the Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette, which broke the story of his illness. "I've lived
a blessed life. I'm ready."

The spokeswoman told Reuters that "Mr. Wilson is dealing
with the matter head-on. Those close to him remain optimistic
regarding the situation."

Last winter, "Gem of the Ocean," part of his 10-part cycle
about the African-American experience, played to good reviews
on Broadway.

Wilson told the Post-Gazette he was pleased to have
completed the cycle of plays set in each decade of the 20th
century, depicting the tragedies and aspirations of

Wilson's plays include "Fences," "Ma Rainey's Black
Bottom," "The Piano Lesson," and "Jitney." His honors include a
Tony Award and two Pulitzer Prizes.

Most recently, Wilson finished rewriting his plays,
including "Radio Golf," which is playing in Los Angeles,
Wilson's spokeswoman said.