On September 20, 2022, the publisher of Booker Prize-winning author Hilary Mantel, HarperCollins, announced that she had passed away at the age of 70. Despite writing a number of outstanding books, Mantel is best recognized for writing Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bring Up The Bodies.

Hilary Mantel once stated that she had been “sick for most of (her) life,” although the exact cause of death has not been determined. Mantel admitted to having crippling menstrual cramps during an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, for which she actively sought a diagnosis when she was 19 years old.

The author was given an endometriosis diagnosis when she was 27 years old. At the time, surgery was the only choice. Mantel’s health issues even led to their 1981 divorce from Gerald McEwan, whom she later remarried in 1982.

The ailment, according to the author of Wolf Hall, causes the uterine tissue to protrude outside of the uterus, according to BBC Radio. She claimed the illness “confiscated her fertility at 27” and left her feeling “besieged.”

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What Was Hilary Mantel’s Statement Regarding Her Endometriosis Battle?

hilary mantel illness

Regarding her struggle with endometriosis, Hilary Mantel has been very outspoken. The author described how she had the disease since she was 19 in an interview with BBC Radio. Mantel observed:

“You need to figure out how to live around it and with it. I have had health issues for much of my life, at least since I was 19.”

Hilary Mantel discussed her first period at the age of 11, which was not a fun experience, in an interview with The Guardian. She remarked:

“My cramps subsided. But shortly after, I saw the doctor due to nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, and achy legs. I was given the option to take tranquilizers, antidepressants, and the chance to work as a psychiatric patient, but in the end, I had the strength to turn them down.”

The author remembered having to have surgery that altered her life, despite the fact that her menstrual cycle did not get any better in her 20s. As she stated to The Guardian

“It was identified on the operating table, and in order to keep me alive, I had to lose some of my womb, ovaries, and portions of my bladder and colon. I awoke to a weird future that included childlessness, early menopause, and a marriage that was already in trouble but was about to fail.”

She discussed how the therapies “had done their own damage” to her body during the BBC Radio interview. The writer stated:

“I don’t have a family, and I never had the chance to have kids, but I’ve tried to fill my life with as much as I can.”

hilary mantel illness

Hilary Mantel continued, adding that her illness had a negative impact on her marriage:

My illness and the crises it caused were too challenging for us to overcome, so we separated and went our separate ways for a while.

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Hilary Mantel was a British writer whose work includes historical fiction and short stories. She passed away at the age of 70, her publisher Harper Collins confirmed on September 20, 2022.

The author experienced chronic illness throughout her adult life, having a severe form of endometriosis, and surgery which left her unable to have children. 

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