DETROIT (Reuters) - Jeffrey Zaslow, co-author of the best-seller "The Last Lecture" and an award-winning Wall Street Journal columnist, was killed on Friday in a car crash in Michigan, the newspaper said.
Zaslow, 53, who was married to Detroit news anchor Sherry Margolis, had been in Petoskey, Michigan, on Thursday night for a book promotion and was driving back toward the Detroit-area when the crash happened.
"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," Journal editor Robert Thomson said in a message to staff on Friday.
Antrim County Sheriff Daniel Bean released few details of the accident, reporting that a passenger car had lost control on a snow-covered road near Elmira and slid into the path of a tractor-trailer, and that the car's driver died on impact.
Zaslow collaborated with former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband last year on a memoir about her path to recovery from a gunshot wound to the head suffered when a man opened fire at a constituent event in January 2011.
He also coauthored a book, "Highest Duty," with US Airways Captain Chesley Sullenberger, who landed an airliner in the Hudson River after its engines were knocked out on takeoff with all passengers and crew rescued.
But Zaslow may be remembered most for "The Last Lecture," a New York Times best-seller that grew out of Carnegie Mellon computer science professor Randy Pausch's speech on death and living as he faced terminal cancer in 2007.
"There is no doubt that Jeff's words will echo poignantly for generations to come and his body of work will be a living testimony to his professionalism, creativity and dedication," Thomson said in his message on Friday.
A graduate of Carnegie Mellon and a Philadelphia native, Zaslow worked at the Chicago Sun-Times from 1987 to 2001 after he entered a contest to replace columnist Ann Landers at the newspaper as part of a story he was writing for the Wall Street Journal and beat out 12,000 applicants.
Zaslow, who is survived by his wife and three daughters -- Jordan, Alex and Eden -- was promoting his latest book on Thursday night: "The Magic Room: A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters."
Funeral arrangements were pending.
(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)