Friends fondly remember best-selling author Vince Flynn - FOX 35 News Orlando

Friends fondly remember best-selling author Vince Flynn

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  • Vince Flynn obituary

    Vince Flynn obituary

    Thursday, June 20 2013 4:42 PM EDT2013-06-20 20:42:48 GMT
    Ambushed by stage III metastatic prostate cancer in November 2010, author Vince Flynn fought for life as tenaciously as the characters he created, but closed the final chapter with peaceful surrender.
    Ambushed by stage III metastatic prostate cancer in November 2010, author Vince Flynn fought for life as tenaciously as the characters he created, but closed the final chapter with peaceful surrender on June 19, 2013.

He was a St. Paul man known to his friends as Vinny -- but the rest of the world knew him as best-selling author Vince Flynn, a man many believed could be plucked from the pages of the books he penned.

Flynn passed away at a St. Paul hospital on Wednesday morning, just a couple hours after being taken off life support and in the company of 35 loved ones who prayed the Rosary by his side. He had been undergoing aggressive and experimental treatment for prostate cancer, but he lost his battle at age 47.

Now, he's being remembered as much more than a celebrated author -- although he was sometimes confused with the character he created.

"I'm not Mitch Rapp," Flynn once insisted. "I write a lot of fiction based on fact"

Flynn's protagonist, CIA agent Mitch Rapp, fought terrorists through 14 international best-sellers -- and like that persona, friends say Flynn himself was brutally honest, authentic and even heroic.

Marty Nanne, son of Lou Nanne, was one of Flynn's close friends.

"Great-looking guy, strong, confident, positive -- intimidating person, but with Vince, you always knew where you stood," Nanne said.

Perhaps that is why it was so shocking that Flynn's ultimate enemy, stage 3 metastatic prostate cancer, would claim him in his prime.

"He realized he could outwork everyone. That's the key. He outworked everyone," radio personality Tom Barnard said.

Barnard was another close friend, and he told FOX 9 News Flynn never forgot where he came from. St. Paul-born and bred, Flynn overcame dyslexia to write his first novel while bartending at O'Gara's. He wasn't deterred by the 60 rejection letters he received before his first novel, "Term Limits," became a best -seller. A few years later, that local boy was making some long-distance calls to keep in touch.

"He said, 'I'm at the palace of King Abdulaha II of Jordan,'" Barnard recalled. "I said, 'You're some dope from St. Paul, Minnesota, man!' Everyone wanted to talk to Vince because that's what he did. He talked to presidents, everyone in Washington."

In fact, his access was awe inspiring. Even President George W. Bush was a fan.

"The president kind of looks over to me and says, 'They are a little too accurate, if you know what I mean,'" Flynn once recalled of a conversation with Bush about his books.

Flynn was a fierce defender of the clandestine services, believing they keep America safe -- and he saw many politicians as hypocrites. He also inspired fierce loyalty among his fans and friends alike. Barnard rarely grants interviews, but he made an exception to remember Flynn.

"I loved him," Barnard said. "That's it."

Flynn is survived by his wife Lysa and their three children, Dane, Ingrid and Anna. A Mass of Christian Burial has been scheduled for Monday morning at the Cathedral of St. Paul, with visitation preceding the service. The time will be finalized and announced on Thursday.

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