The Flemish writer and journalist Thomas Blondeau has died unexpectedly at the age of 35. As well as publishing three novels, he wrote for the newspapers De Morgen, De Standaard, NRC Handelsblad and the magazine Psychologies.
Blondeau was born in Poperinge, West Flanders, but moved to the Netherlands in 1998 to study at Leiden University. He was living in Amsterdam at the time of his death. His third novel Het West-Vlaams versierhandboek (The West Flanders Seduction Handbook) was published in September.
In his final interview published last Saturday in the newspaper nrc.next, he said that he had “become Dutchified, of course. The last time I sat on a book jury, I was the one who talked all the time. But I will always be the child of my parents, and of my region. Now that I have a Belgian girlfriend I can come back and do things that I haven’t done in a long time. Like going to the baker on a Sunday.”
“We can hardly grasp that he’s not there any longer,” his publisher De Bezige Bij said in a statement. “We have lost a very dear and very warm human being, an extraordinarily talented author and a great hope for the future.”
Flemish culture minister Joke Schauvliege issued a statement in which she said that Blondeau “was rightly considered one of the major literary talents in Flanders, who was also read with pleasure in the Netherlands.”
According to a report in De Standaard, his death was caused by a ruptured aorta. His funeral is due to take place in private in Poperinge on Saturday.