Sad news: Malachy McCourt, the bon vivant actor brother of “Angela’s Ashes” author Frank McCourt, issued a dire statement yesterday. Frank is “gravely ill,” suffering from meningitis complications after having skin cancer. He is not expected to make it.

Frank McCourt, I was surprised to learn, is 78 years old. The former school teacher has always seemed youthful and vibrant. So this news is heartbreaking, indeed. Frank and his wonderful wife, Ellen, have been pals for a long time, regulars on the New York literary and film circuit. It’s always been a joy to hang out with them.

So please, send an extra prayer to the McCourts. “Ashes” remains one of the great memoirs of all time, and Frank’s other writing, including his books, “Tis,” and “Teacher Man,” leave indelible impressions of a life well lived. We’re thinking of you, Frank!

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