Best-selling author Vince Flynn, who wrote the Mitch Rapp counterterrorism thriller series and sold more than 15 million books in the U.S. alone, died Wednesday in Minnesota after a more than two-year battle with prostate cancer, according to friends and his publisher. He was 47.
Flynn died Wednesday morning at United Hospital in St. Paul. He was surrounded by about 35 relatives and friends who prayed the Rosary, said longtime family friend Kathy Schneeman.
Flynn has published 14 novels centered around the character of Mitch Rapp, an undercover CIA agent. The majority of those novels have made it to the New York Times bestseller list. Flynn self-published his first book, “Term Limits,” in 1997 before landing a publishing deal.
“If (Tom) Clancy could do it, why can’t I?” Flynn said in a 2005 interview with The Associated Press.
After releasing his 13th, “Kill Shot,” Flynn talked with WCCO-TV’s Frank Vascellaro about his battle with stage three metastatic prostate cancer.
“I was in pain writing the last 2 books, but I didn’t know how serious it was,” Flynn said in early 2012, at the time of the interview.
He went to doctors, who thought he may have had a bacterial infection in his prostate. Flynn was diagnosed with stage three metastatic prostate cancer in November 2010. The fatigue from his radiation treatments eventually made it difficult to focus on writing for more than an hour or two, and in October 2011, he reluctantly postponed publication for several months of “Kill Shot,” which followed Rapp’s adventures as he pursued those responsible for the bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.
His message for men with prostate cancer was to stay positive. Never surrender, he told Vascellaro, and find the professionals that can help you beat the disease. Flynn dedicated “Kill Shot” to the doctors aggressively treating prostate cancer.
Schneeman said his deep Catholic faith was an important part of his character.
“That’s what he would have liked. He talks about his faith just as much as he would talk about politics and current events with our group of friends,” Schneeman said.
Flynn is survived by his wife, Lysa Flynn, and three children.
Glenn Beck was very close to Mr. Flynn and almost broke down on the air a few times today when discussing Mr. Flynn's passing. I know that I had tears driving into work. Mr. Flynn has entertained my grandma and I with his harrowing tales of Mitch Rapp, counter terrorism operative and his quest to keep America safe.
Mr. Flynn was an author not seen since the likes of Tom Clancy in terms of his realism, connections to the fields he wrote about, as well as his keen knack for telling a great story that is both complex and easily engaging. Prayers go out to his family and friends. Godspeed, sir.