Sadly, black women across the country are in need to fill a void today as E. Lynn Harris, noted African-American lit author known for his homosexual themes passed today at the age of 54.

VIA The Root

From the Arkansas Times:

E. Lynn Harris, the best-selling Arkansas author known for contemporary stories about African-Americans, has suffered a serious health setback. His personal assistant confirmed an unspecified health event, but said she was awaiting word from a hotel where Harris was staying on a book tour before providing further information.

UPDATE: Arkansas Sports 360 reports that Harris has died at age 54 during a West Coast book tour. The item does not cite a source, but Harris was close to the UA Athletic Department and had worked as coach and sponsor of the cheerleaders.

Word of the health event began making the rounds on Twitter earlier in the morning.

Born in Michigan, Harris grew up in Little Rock. He attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he was the school’s first black cheerleader. He continued to be a diehard Razorback fan. He has taught adjunct courses in the English department, most recently last fall.

His latest book, “Basketball Jones,” is about the gay lover of an NBA star. Says the publicity blurb: “In Basketball Jones, E. Lynn Harris explores the consequences of loving someone who is forced to conform to the rules society demands its public heroes follow. Filled with nonstop twists and turns, it will keep readers riveted from the first page to the last.” According to his website biography, Harris, 54, divides his time between Fayetteville and Atlanta.

My condonlences to his family. I respect the man as a writer, a talented and gifted one, regardless if he were gay or not. You wouldn’t really know about Down Low behavior if you hadn’t read one of his books or Oprah. RIP.