People Who Died: Jim Carroll

R.I.P. Jim Carroll, author of the autobiographical "The Basketball Diaries," and writer of such early `80s classics as "People Who Died," which I can still see him singing, a tall ghostly presence throttling the mic in a small Norfolk, Va., club, with Lenny Kaye sitting in on guitar.

A "poet and punk rocker in the outlaw tradition of Rimbaud and Burroughs," writes the Times. 

Acknowledged as the best poet of his generation, Patti Smith observes.

He died Friday at his desk in his Manhattan home, according to his Web site. Cause of death: heart attack.

"The Basketball Diaries" begins with a boy's excitement about the beginning of the roundball season and ends in Times Square, where our hero, who supports his heroin addiction by hustling, writes:

“Totally zonked, and all the dope scraped or sniffed clean from the tiny cellophane bags. I can see the Cloisters with its million in medieval art out the bedroom window. I got to go in and puke. I just want to be pure.”

He was 60.