Science fiction guru Arthur C Clarke no more

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Colombo, Mar 19: British-born science fiction writer and visionary Arthur C Clarke died at a private hospital here this morning, his office said. According to officials, Clarke, who had been in and out of hospital, died in Apollo hospital aged 90. Clarke was the first to suggest the use of satellites orbiting the earth for communication and predicted that commercial space travel would one day be commonplace.

Celebrating his birthday on December 16, Clarke, who wrote many of his more than 80 books here, expressed his desire for a lasting peace in the island nation. ''I've been living in Sri Lanka for 50 years, and half that time I've been a sad witness to a bitter conflict that divides my adopted country, and dearly wish to see a lasting peace established in Sri Lanka as soon as possible,'' Clarke had said at his last birthday party. Born in England in 1917, the writer had first come to the island in the 1950s for scuba diving and said he became a resident of Sri Lanka and received so many honorary awards for his contributions to science and technology. Meanwhile, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has expressed ''deep sorrow and condolences'' on Clarke's demise.

UNI

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