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Miriam Engelberg, Cartoonist Who Chronicled Cancer

Miriam Engelberg, a self-taught cartoonist who drew what she called a "memoir in comics" about having breast cancer, has died. She was 48 years old.

Engelberg's comic strips, collected in Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person, are simple and laugh-out-loud funny.

She drew cartoons about losing her hair and buying a blue wig, about how solving crossword puzzles soothed her stress, and how left out she felt watching other couples raise their children.

Of course, it was not all humorous.

Engelberg recalled in an interview earlier this year about how her son was four when she was first diagnosed -- and that has been the hardest part of coping with cancer.

"When it comes to family, it does feel very scary and heartbreaking to me," she said.

Engelberg's blog, which she updated regularly, reports that she died at home in San Francisco on Tuesday -- peacefully -- in the presence of her family and friends.

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As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.