Oscar Hijuelos—professor of the practice of English and the Blackburn writer in residence—passed away this weekend at the age of 62, according to the New York Times.
Hijuelos won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1990 for his book “The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love,” becoming the first Latino to be awarded the Prize. He collapsed while playing tennis Saturday and never regained consciousness, according to the New York Times obituary.
Much of Hijuelos’s writing drew from his Cuban background, and his novels often concerned the experience of immigrants adjusting to life in a different culture. His most recent publication was his memoir, “Thoughts Without Cigarettes,” released in 2011.
Hijuelos began teaching at Duke in 2008—after two decades of being “gainfully unemployed” as a novelist, he said in a Duke press release at the time.
Hijuelos grew up in New York City and attended City College of New York. His wife, Lori Marie Carlson, is also a writer who teaches in Duke’s English department. Both were listed as being on leave for the Fall semester.
Hijuelos is survived by Carlson and his brother, José.