Susan Spencer-Wendel, former Palm Beach Post reporter, dies at 47

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Florida writer who turned her mission to live joyfully while battling Lou Gehrig's disease into a best-selling book has died.

John Wendel says his wife, Susan Spencer-Wendel, died at their West Palm Beach home Wednesday morning. She was 47.

Spencer-Wendel was a reporter for The Palm Beach Post when she first noticed signs of changing health five years ago. After she was diagnosed with the progressive neurodegenerative disease, she began a final series of trips with those closest to her.

They became the basis for "Until I Say Goodbye," the heartbreaking account of her decline that earned her a $2.3 million deal from Harper Collins and became a best-seller after its release last year.

Many who worked with her were in awe at her strength and perseverance given her circumstances.

"Susan's legacy is not just as a journalist, but as an author who touched millions of lives with her inspirational story. And this woman is so tenacious that she typed her memoir in three months with her right thumb - her right thumb on her iPhone," said Palm Beach Post Presentation Editor Jan Tuckwood.

Wendel says his wife managed to remain positive to the very end.

The web team contributed to this report

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