DEVELOPING NEWS: Richard Dawkins has suffered a stroke.

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DEVELOPING NEWS: Richard Dawkins has suffered a stroke. 

Richard Dawkins has had a stroke on the eve of his tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Management for the 74-year-old author of The God Delusion said he had suffered a “minor stroke” in the UK on Saturday but had already returned home from hospital.

But the health scare has caused him to postpone his tour, his management said in a message passed on to ticket holders on Friday.

“On Saturday night Richard suffered a minor stroke, however he is expected in time to make a full or near full recovery,” the statement said. “He is already at home recuperating.

“This unfortunately means Richard will be unable to make his planned Australian and New Zealand tour. He is very disappointed that he is unable to do so but looks forward to renewing his plans in the not too distant future.”

By Thursday he had recovered enough to use Twitter, plugging a book called God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction, for which he had written the foreword.

The events were to be centred around his recently published second memoir, Brief Candle in the Dark. It’s his 13th book. His first, The Selfish Gene, published in 1976, has sold more than a million copies. The God Delusion, the 2006 book for which he is now best known, has sold more than three million.

A steadfast critic of religion, who nevertheless recently criticised leading UK cinema chains for refusing to screen an advert featuring the Lord’s Prayer, Dawkins has regularly been named one of Britain’s top public intellectuals.

He also coined the term “meme”, in described in rather loftier tones than its current manifestation as an infinite cascade of sad frogs named Pepe, as a self-replicating unit that transmitted cultural ideas.

Memes, Dawkins told The Guardian in 2013, are “cultural replicators, the cultural equivalent of a gene, the cultural equivalent of DNA,” adding “the internet is a first-class ecology for memes to spread.”


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