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U.S. professor of inspirational "last lecture" dies

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Randy Pausch, a university professor whose “last lecture” celebrating life in the face of terminal cancer became a book which made him a best-selling sensation, died on Friday at age 47.

Pausch died at home of complications from pancreatic cancer, Carnegie Mellon University, where he taught for 10 years, reported on its Web site.

The computer science professor was best known for his “last lecture,” entitled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” which he gave in September 2007 just weeks after learning he was suffering from terminal cancer.

Footage of the poignant and inspirational lecture became a hit on the Internet, viewed by millions of people.

A book based on the talk, “The Last Lecture,” was translated into 30 languages and became an international bestseller, Carnegie Mellon, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, said on its Web site.

In the lecture, Pausch spoke about the dreams he had achieved, such as writing a World Book Encyclopedia entry and experiencing zero gravity. But he said he learned more from the dreams he had not achieved, such as his desire to be a professional football player.

He said he delivered the lecture as a guide for his three young children.

“I’m attempting to put myself in a bottle that will one day wash up on the beach for my children,” the university quoted him as saying.

In the field of computer science, Pausch created an educational software tool known as “Alice,” which lets students create three-dimensional computer animations.

He is survived by his wife Jai and their children Dylan, Logan and Chloe as well as his mother and his sister.

The family plans a private burial in Virginia, where Pausch and his family moved last fall. A campus memorial service also is being planned, the university said.

Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Vicki Allen