Christopher Tolkien, the son of The Lord Of The Rings author JRR Tolkien, has been hailed as a “titan” of fantasy literature following his death aged 95.
The Tolkien Society, which promotes the life and works of the revered fantasy writer, confirmed the news in a statement on Twitter.
It said: “Christopher Tolkien has died at the age of 95. The Tolkien Society sends its deepest condolences to Baillie, Simon, Adam, Rachel and the whole Tolkien family.”
Christopher Tolkien has died at the age of 95. The Tolkien Society sends its deepest condolences to Baillie, Simon, Adam, Rachel and the whole Tolkien family. pic.twitter.com/X83PTx4b7x
— Tolkien Society (@TolkienSociety) January 16, 2020
Oxford University-educated Tolkien was the author’s third and youngest son, and was responsible for editing and publishing much of his father’s work following his death in 1973.
These included The Silmarillion, The Children Of Hurin, and Beren And Luthien, which flesh out the complex world of elves and dwarves created by his father.
He also drew the original maps of Middle-earth which decorated the trilogy of books released in the 1950s following the success of the prequel, The Hobbit.
He signed off his work as “CJRT”, going by his full name Christopher John Reuel Tolkien, in the same manner as his father.
Tolkien Society chairman Shaun Gunner said: “All of us in the Tolkien Society will share in the sadness at the news of Christopher Tolkien’s death, and we send our condolences to Baillie, Simon, Adam, Rachel and the whole Tolkien family at this difficult time.
“Christopher’s commitment to his father’s works have seen dozens of publications released, and his own work as an academic in Oxford demonstrates his ability and skill as a scholar.
“Millions of people around the world will be forever grateful to Christopher for bringing us The Silmarillion, The Children Of Hurin, The History Of Middle-earth series and many others. We have lost a titan and he will be sorely missed.”
Charlie Redmayne, chief executive of HarperCollins UK which publishes much of JRR Tolkien’s work, said: “Christopher was a devoted curator of his father’s work and the timeless and ongoing popularity of the world that JRR Tolkien created is a fitting testimony to the decades he spent bringing Middle-earth to generations of readers.
“The most charming of men, and a true gentleman, it was an honour and privilege to know and work with him and our thoughts are with his family at this time.”
Tolkien scholar Dr Dimitra Fimi hailed Tolkien for enriching the public’s understanding of Middle-earth.
She said: “Tolkien studies would never be what it is today without Christopher Tolkien’s contribution. From editing The Silmarillion to the mammoth task of giving us The History Of Middle-earth series, he revealed his father’s grand vision of a rich and complex mythology.
“He gave us a window into Tolkien’s creative process, and he provided scholarly commentary that enriched our understanding of Middle-earth. He was Middle-earth’s cartographer and first scholar.”
Tolkien was critical of Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning The Lord Of The Rings film trilogy.
In a 2012 interview with the French newspaper Le Monde, he criticised the adaptations, saying: “They gutted the book, making an action film for 15 to 25-year-olds.”
In the same interview, he spoke of the impact of his father’s stories.
He said: “As strange as it may seem, I grew up in the world he created. For me, the cities of The Silmarillion are more real than Babylon.”
Tolkien won Oxford University’s Bodley Medal in 2016, for his “outstanding contributions” to communications and literature.