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Dr. Randy Pausch


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PITTSBURGH - Randy Pausch, a computer science professor whose "last lecture" about facing terminal cancer became an Internet sensation and a best-selling book, has died. He was 47.

Pausch died early Friday at his home in Virginia, said Anne Watzman, a spokeswoman for Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh where he worked. Pausch and his family moved there last fall to be closer to his wife's relatives.

Pausch was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer in September 2006. His popular last lecture in September 2007 garnered international attention and was viewed by millions on the Internet.

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In it, Pausch celebrated living the life he had always dreamed of instead of concentrating on impending death.

"The lecture was for my kids, but if others are finding value in it, that is wonderful," Pausch wrote on his Web site. "But rest assured; I'm hardly unique."

The book "The Last Lecture," written with Jeffrey Zaslow, leaped to the top of the nonfiction best-seller lists after its publication in April and remains there this week. Pausch said he dictated the book to Zaslow, a Wall Street Journal writer, by cell phone. The book deal was reported to be worth more than $6 million.

Flamboyance and showmanship

At Carnegie Mellon, he was a professor of computer science, human-computer interaction and design, and was recognized as a pioneer of virtual reality research. On campus, he became known for his flamboyance and showmanship as a teacher and mentor.

The speech last fall was part of a series Carnegie Mellon called "The Last Lecture," where professors were asked to think about what matters to them most and give a hypothetical final talk. The name of the lecture series was changed to "Journeys" before Pausch spoke, something he joked about in his lecture.

"I thought, damn, I finally nailed the venue and they renamed it," he said.

He told the packed auditorium he fulfilled almost all his childhood dreams

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