Top-selling author Vince Flynn dies after cancer battle

4:56 PM, Jun 19, 2013   |    comments
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EDINA, Minn. - Top-selling Minnesota writer Vince Flynn is dead after a battle against prostate cancer. He was just 47-years-old. Flynn's death was confirmed to KARE 11 by close friends of Flynn's family Wednesday morning.   

Vince Flynn was a resident of Edina and a lifelong Minnesotan, having graduated from St. Thomas Academy and The University of St. Thomas. After beginning a career in marketing Flynn decided he needed to take a different path, and began writing novels in the political thriller vein.

Before his first book was published, Flynn often turned to his closest friends and family for feedback. 

"We were close enough, as were the other three or four guys reading the book, that we could tell him, 'no, this wasn't very good,'" said Dan McQuillan, owner of Plums in St. Paul.

McQuillan met Flynn back in college and stayed in touch through his rise to literary fame.

"He was just who he was and that was the same as a freshman in college as it was two days ago. He always, always, always thought about other people. He was the absolute least changed human being I've ever seen with success," McQuillan said.

In 1997 -- and after receiving dozens of rejection letters -- Flynn self-published his first book, Term Limits.

"He did it way ahead of the curve. Then he was bought up by a major publisher and continued on being quite successful. So he's somebody the field can point to saying he did it before people were even talking about it," said Jocelyn Hale, Executive Director of the Loft Literary Center.

Most of his books centered around the character Mitch Rapp, a counter-terrorism expert who was chronicled in such detail that the federal government once probed his writing.

On February 1, 2011, Flynn announced in his fan newsletter that he was being treated for Stage III prostate cancer, but in truth he had been getting treatment for it since November of 2010. He went public with his illness and worked hard to educate the public and his fans about prostate cancer.

In a heartfelt entry on, close family friend Kathy Schneeman talked about Flynn's devotion to his family, his faith, and the fact he was not afraid of death as his cancer progressed. She wrote:

"We once heard him tell someone, "If you just stepped foot into a Catholic church you wouldn't have so much anxiety." Because Vince embraced his faith, he didn't have any fear about dying. But as Father Laird said at Vince's deathbed, 'He just didn't want to go so soon.'"

"I think that some of his best qualities were his kindness. He had a great sense of humor. Great dad. Great husband. They say his family was tremendously close. He never forgot where he came from," said Dan O'Gara, owner of O'Gara's Bar and Grill and long-time family friend.

"It has been our distinct honor to publish Vince Flynn for the entire length of his career," said Carolyn Reidy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Simon & Schuster, Inc. "As good as Vince was on the page - and he gave millions of readers countless hours of pleasure - he was even more engaging in person. He had a truly unique ability to make everyone - from those of us at Simon & Schuster who were fortunate to be part of his publication, to booksellers and retailers around the nation, and most of all, his readers, with whom he had a very close relationship - feel as if we were on his team and sharing in his life and his success. Yes, we will miss the Mitch Rapp stories that are classic modern thrillers, but we will miss Vince even more."

Flynn was working on his 15th novel at the time of his passing. He is survived by his wife Lysa and three children.

Works by Flynn include American Assassin, Kill Shot, Transfer of Power, The Third Option, Separation of Power, Executive Power, Memorial Day, Consent to Kill, Act of Treason, Extreme Measures, Pursuit of Honor, The Last Man and Term Limits (not part of the Mitch Rapp series). Motion picture rights to Flynn's character Mitch Rapp have been optioned by CBS Films with the intention of making a character-based, action-thriller movie franchise.


(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )

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