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Writer Susan Spencer-Wendel dies at 47.


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Susan Spencer-Wendel, the writer whose best-selling book ''Until I Say Goodbye'' chronicled her fight to live joyfully as she battled Lou Gehrig's disease, died Wednesday at her home in West Palm Beach, her husband John Wendel said. She was 47.

Spencer-Wendel was a well-regarded court reporter for The Palm Beach Post when she first noticed a change in her health in 2009. It would be two years before she was diagnosed, but by then she had made up her mind: She would live her remaining days as best she could, travel the places she dreamed of going and complete a long goodbye to those she loved.

She went to California to find her birth mother; to New York, where her teenage daughter tried on wedding dresses for a glimpse of a day they'll never share; to Budapest, where she and her husband retraced footsteps of an earlier life; to the Yukon, in a vain attempt to see the Northern Lights with her lifelong best friend; to the Caribbean, to Cyprus, and on and on.

Along the way, she wrote stories about two of her trips for the Post that were so heartbreakingly recorded they caught the eye of HarperCollins, which gave her a $2.3 million deal, and Universal Pictures, which followed with a seven-figure offer of its own.

She sprinted to continue her travels and to put them in writing, tapping out the vast majority of her book, ''Until I Say Goodbye,'' on her iPhone using just her right thumb. After its release last year, it briefly hit the best-seller lists of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Publisher's Weekly.
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Author:Sedensky, Matt
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Jun 5, 2014
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