The award-winning historical fiction author behind “Ragtime,” “The March” and “Billy Bathgate” novels, E.L. Doctorow, has died at the age of 84.

“Ragtime” was turned into a film in 1981 and Broadway musical in 1996. “Billy Bathgate” also was turned into a movie. Doctorow was famous for using fictional characters and reimagining them into historical events.


Doctorow’s death was due to complications with lung cancer, his son Richard Doctorow confirmed.

“I began to ask two questions while I was reading a book that excited me,” he once shared. “Not only what was going to happen next but how is this done? How is it that these words on the page make me feel the way I’m feeling? This is the line of inquiry that I think happens in a child’s mind, without him even knowing he has aspirations as a writer.”

Doctorow certainly proved himself as a versatile author with dozens of novels, a play, multiple books of short stories and countless essays.