O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) (1862-1910)

Death: 5th June 1910
Location: Riverside Cemetery, Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina, USA
Cause of death: Cirrhosis of the liver
Photo taken by: Jẹr
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American author of short stories which have surprise endings; the best known of which is The Gift of the Magi.  The O. Henry Awards are given annually to outstanding short stories.
He was born William Sydney Porter in North Carolina and after leaving school he worked as a bookkeeper in his uncle’s drugstore. In 1882 he moved to Texas where he held several different jobs including, ranch hand and pharmacist. In 1887 he eloped with Athol Estes, a seventeen year old from a wealthy family; the couple had two children.
In 1894 he left his job at the First National Bank of Austin after he was accused of embezzlement. He moved to Houston and started writing for the Houston Post, but in 1895 he was arrested for embezzlement from the First National Bank. He was granted bail, but absconded to New Orleans and then Honduras. He returned to the United States in 1897 and gave himself up after he discovered that his wife was dying. Athol Estes died in July 1897 and Porter was imprisoned in April 1898 for five years, he was paroled for good behavior in July 1901.
Whilst he was imprisoned he started writing short stories to support his daughter. He used the pen name O. Henry so that it wouldn’t be discovered that he was in prison. After his release he continued to write, but the pressure that this brought drove him to alcohol and he died in 1910 of cirrhosis of the liver.