And the entire science fiction community is in shock.
Most readers probably don’t know him, but fans and authors know him well. Hartwell has been editing science fiction books since the 60s. In the 80s, he founded the Timescape imprint, which published such books as Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun; Michael Bishop’s Nebula winner No Enemy But Time; Windhaven, written by George R. R. Martin and Lisa Tuttle, as well as authors Afred Bester (though not his best work), Philip K. Dick, Jack L. Chalker, Jack Vance, David Gerrold, and Roger Zelazny. He has continued on as an editor for Tor. The Wikipedia page only scratches the surface of the authors he’s encouraged and edited.
David was also an anthologist, doing a yearly volume of best science fiction from 1996-2013 and a similar series of best fantasy for eight years. His The Dark Descent (and sequels) collected some of the best horror stories over the years; it’s a must read for those interested in the history of the genre. He also did a couple of dozen stand alone anthologies.
He edited the small press magazine The Little Magazine and also The New York Review of Science Fiction. A review of mine appeared in the latter, and I still have no idea how he got it (It was written for another magazine, which went on hiatus, then showed up in the NYRoSF. I asked him how it happened, but he couldn’t remember).
He was also a fan. He’s been the guiding force behind the World Fantasy Convention, making it into what it is now. But he showed up at other conventions, too. He’s been a regular at Albacon (I’ve been involved since the beginning), appearing on panels and having a table in the dealer’s room. I’ve shared quite a few panels with him, and one year did an interview with him as part of our writer’s workshop.
He was known for his garish outfits (here he is winning a Hugo Award) and for singing “Teen Angel” at cons.
He was in good health, but he fell on his basement stairs, hitting his head, which led to bleeding on the brain. EMTs were on the scene in only five minutes, but there was nothing they could do. The news came out late last night, and his wife confirmed his passing this evening.
This has hit the field hard. Facebook is full of tributes to him. He was always friendly and encouraging to young writers. It is a sad and shocking loss.