Jeffrey Zaslow, co-author of The Last Lecture and Girls from Ames, dies

Sad news today -- Jeffrey Zaslow, who wrote such popular non-fiction as "The Last Lecture" and "The Girls from Ames," died today in a car crash in Michigan. The Wall Street Journal, where he has worked as a reporter, said that he died after losing control of his car while driving on a snowy road and colliding with a truck. He was 53, the Journal said.

Zaslow's biggest hit was as co-author of "The Last Lecture," an inspirational tale of Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor who soldiered on while facing pancreatic cancer that would kill him. "The Girls from Ames," detailed a decades-long friendship among a group of women, and was a favorite of books clubs nationwide.

He also co-authored "Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope," the memoir of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly. And for "Highest Duty," he collaborated with Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who landed a troubled jet in the Hudson River.

Here's more from the Journal's article: "After Mr. Pausch gave an inspirational multimedia presentation about his life's lessons, Mr. Zaslow — a 1980 Carnegie Mellon graduate — wrote a Journal column about the lecture and posted it on the Journal's website with a video that became an online sensation. The resulting book spent more than a year on best-seller lists and was translated into dozens of languages. ...

"In a statement Friday to the staff of the Journal, editor Robert Thomson said: 'Jeff's writing, for the Journal and in his books, has been a source of inspiration for many people around the world and his journalistic life has been a source of inspiration for all journalists.' "