Vince Flynn, R.I.P.

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Vince Flynn, after my interview in late 2007. Photograph (c) by Brian Killigrew.

 

I’m devastated to learn, and saddened to report, that Vince Flynn — one of my all-time favorite thriller authors, and one of my all-time most-admired people — has just died at the tragically young age of 47.

If there is a Valhalla for life’s great and noble warriors, Vince Flynn deserves to occupy the throne there.

Vince was a bestselling giant in the thriller field. But he was much more: a devoted husband and father, a man of principle and courage, and a ferociously dedicated American patriot. All of these elements of his character were embodied in his many thrillers, and in his iconic fictional hero, Mitch Rapp.

Over several recent years, Vince bravely battled prostate cancer, yet still continued to write through horrific pain and debilitating physical deterioration. In recent months, he kept the late stages of his battle private from us all, never letting on publicly that things were getting worse. Indeed, his latest monthly newsletter, issued in May, gave no hint of his dire circumstances. Instead, he took that occasion to announce the scheduled fall 2013 publication date of his next Mitch Rapp thriller, titled — ironically — The Survivor.

Vince Flynn filled his all-too-brief years with more life than most of us will ever know, fulfilling many dreams the rest of us would never dare, and inspiring countless others by the courage of his example. I proudly count myself as one of those who was so inspired.

I had several opportunities to meet Vince, first at some of his public book signings. Then he did me the great honor to let me interview him for the March 2008 issue of The New Individualist magazine. That interview, which I have reprinted here in three parts on this blog, reveals why this man was so extraordinary — and why I shall miss him so very much.

Well done, Vince. Well done.

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Vince and me during our interview. Photo (c) by Brian Killigrew.

UPDATE: Among the many glowing tributes to Vince over the past 24 hours, I think that this remembrance, by veteran journalist Claudia Rosett, is particularly relevant to readers here. Rosett focuses on the qualities in his Mitch Rapp protagonist that make him an archetypal vigilante hero: his willingness to stand alone for justice, even in the face of laws and the enormous powers wielded by corrupt government officials. As Rosett’s fine piece makes clear, Vince Flynn was a true “vigilante author” — perhaps the best and most successful of our era.

UPDATE #2: I just posted this personal video tribute to Vince Flynn on a Facebook page established for that purpose tonight. It’s amateurish…but heartfelt. Perhaps it captures just a bit of what I loved about Vince as a writer, and even more as a man.

 

 

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10 Responses to Vince Flynn, R.I.P.

  1. Christine Price says:

    Great tribute, Robert. I’m still devastated at the news too. Such a great guy.

  2. R.E. McDermott says:

    Sad news indeed. RIP Vince.

  3. Shawn Reynolds says:

    A wonderful, heartfelt piece, Robert. I am shocked and saddened by the news as well. I will always be greatful to Vince for many things. Quite a few of them were things he did for lots of fans. A precious few he did just for me. Not the least of which was giving me an opportunity to meet you for the first time. R.I.P., Vince. You are so sorely missed.

    • RobertBidinotto says:

      The news came as a big shock to many of us, who believed that he was recovering. That’s because he always put a brave, optimistic face on his illness. But it wasn’t just a pose: Vince was a brave, optimistic guy. I’m sure he truly felt he would beat the disease. And if anyone could have, it would have been Vince Flynn.

      Shawn, the opportunity of our meeting was just one of the countless good things he generated, most without his slightest awareness. He just counted on being who he was, expressing his vision and values in his own life…and all the rest just happened, as consequences. There is a lesson in that for our own lives, isn’t there?

      • Shawn Reynolds says:

        Absolutely. Vince was a great inspiration to countless people on countless levels. Obviously he could never know the full extent of his influence on others. That said, I do think he consciously went out of his way to reach out to others as much as possible. Especially his fans. He had one of the most infectious personalities I have ever encountered. You just felt completely at ease around him. He was just the guy next door, you know? And yet I was a total yokel. Incredible. He had that ability to instantly and genuinely transition between people on different levels.

        I could go on and on…

        Thanks for the forum to publicly mourn, Robert.

  4. Mike S says:

    A very sad day. The highlight of each year for me was the release a new book by Vince. I was hooked many years ago by his writing. I use to travel with business and would read on the plane. When his new books would come out I would read them though cover to cover in one or two settings. Then wait another year for the next. He will be truly missed by his fans. RIP Vince and my prayers go out to his family and dear friends. I use to work in biometric forensics and I am former military and know more then I should – his books and Mich were more real in some cases and I could almost bring people I know to my mind and some of the things would spark goose bumps…….

    • RobertBidinotto says:

      Mike, many of us are still trying, and failing, to wrap our heads and emotions around this loss. Thank you for sharing your own feelings here. We all miss him deeply.

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