Novelist Kurt Vonnegut Dies At 84

The author of such acclaimed novels as ``Slaughterhouse-Five'' and ``Cat's Cradle'' has died.

Kurt Vonnegut was 84.

He suffered brain injuries several weeks ago in a fall at his home in Manhattan.

Vonnegut was the author of at least 19 novels, as well as dozens of short stories, essays and plays.

A self-described religious skeptic and free-thinking humanist, Vonnegut used protagonists such as Billy Pilgrim and Eliot Rosewater as transparent vehicles for his points of view.

Vonnegut was perhaps most famous for the novel, ``Slaughterhouse-Five,'' which was his effort to deal with the trauma of World War Two. Vonnegut was a prisoner-of-war in Germany and survived the Allied bombing of Dresden by huddling with other P-O-W's inside an underground meat locker labeled slaughterhouse-five.

The novel, in which Private Pilgrim is transported from Dresden by time-traveling aliens from the planet Tralfamadore, was published at the height of the Vietnam War.

Despite his commercial success, Vonnegut battled depression throughout his life, and once attempted suicide.