According to a number of sources, alternative history author Michael Baigent (Holy Blood, Holy Grail, The Temple and the Lodge, The Elixir and the Stone) has passed away. Baigent's influence on modern society is profound, via the inclusion of the research of he and co-authors Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, in Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code - so much so that Baigent and co-author Richard Leigh took Brown to court over it. (as an homage, Baigent and Leigh's names were combined as an anagram to form the name of the character Leigh Teabing). Here's the report from Robert Bauval's Facebook page - please note at this stage the "unconfirmed" at the top!
Author and dear friend Michael Baigent passed away last night. I have known Michael for many years. I remember with great nostalgia the amazing trip we shared in Egypt in 1998. Michael (with co-authors Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln ) published The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail in 1982, a huge book that even inspired Dan Brown's blockbuster Da Vinci Code.
Michael was a kind and gentle man, and a great writer. He was the real thing, original and with fine virtues and integrity, who wrote responsibly after carefully researching his subject. He was a Renaissance Man, a Gnostic on a quest for the divine spark. I had much admiration and respect for him.
You have left us, Michael, but your divine spark, your light, will always glow in the wonderful books you wrote fur us.
Fellow alternative history author Dr Robert Lomas has also tweeted the following message: "Sad news about Michael Baigent dying. He advised and helped me before I wrote my first book and remained a good friend. RIP Michael".
If anyone can confirm or deny the news, please let us know.