He knew that lung cancer had spread and would one day take his life.
But not when.
For two years he fought against.
Last spring, when he thought he was going to beat the cancer, he celebrated with champagne with Aftonbladet Ingalill Mosander.
It was a rare moment.
Henning Mankell was happy, verging in high spirits.
The cancer was not cured, but tumors had decreased.
– The last time I saw my doctor, he did not see me in six weeks, said Henning Mankell.
A few weeks later came the setback.
“Damn it,” wrote Henning Mankell in an email.
But just a week ago said he, in a big interview in GP, it could take ten years, maybe five, maybe all the life he was going to live.
He spoke of the future – the future of his into it last still thought he had.
As recently as last weekend, he participated in the book fair in Gothenburg – something he was forced to cancel at the last minute because of the risk of infection.
However, no one, not even himself, foresaw that it would go so fast at the end.
He had so many plans, so many books left to write, so many scripts and ideas to unleash.
– He had plans to write a new Wallander in time for the 25th anniversary next year, he had several ideas, says Dan Israel, Henning Mankell Publisher and personal friend for 40 years.
– He saw enough ahead of him that he would fight a long time. There he was most afraid of was not able to write, to be turned off and tired, and there he never came. He wrote two books during his illness, and I think there are two brilliant books, says Dan Israel.
When he reached the fatal news, he sat on a plane to Gothenburg to connect with family.
Henning Mankell was since 1998 married to director Eva Bergman, daughter of Ingmar Bergman, and his son Jon, 35, in a previous marriage.
The actor Krister Henriksson, not only playing Kurt Wallander movies – he was a close friend of Henning Mankell.
– I feel a great and eternal emptiness. Sometimes it feels as if he was my only friend. It felt like we were brothers, says Krister Henriksson.
– I’m shocked. For me this is a unique voice that has passed away, that will be unbelievably missed, the actor says Rolf Lassgård, who played Kurt Wallander in the first films.
But Henning Mankell is mourned not only by the family and all friends and colleagues.
He is mourned by Ystad – the city that is forever sammanknippad with the books and films and detective Inspector Kurt Wallander of Sweden – and of the whole world.
so great was he, the writer, director – and man – Henning Mankell.
German Focus was the first to publish the news.
Then came the BBC, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, The New York Times , The Independent, ABC News, The Sydney Morning Herald – to name a few of the mediums in the world who reported on his death.
Patti Smith and Kenneth Branagh
In an email to Aftonbladet says the American rock legend Patti Smith, 68, that she was awakened by the news that her close friend Henning Mankell was dead.
– I hesitated to get up and start my day, because I know that every moment will be create a clearer sense of the irreplaceable loss of a dear friend and mentor, says Patti Smith in his statement.
They had frequent contact and Henning Mankell has himself told that Patti Smith has been a great support to him, since cancer announcement two years ago.
– In my mind I see his desk, the pages of his manuscript, his black clothes, his perceptive eye, writes Patti Smith.
The British actor Kenneth Branagh, who played Wallander in the BBC version, also provides a great writer – and a good man.
– The life and art was Henning Mankell passionately devoted. I will miss his intelligence and his great generosity, says Kenneth Branagh Swedish Radio Kulturnytt.
The Norwegian crime novelist Jo Nesbø says to NRK:
– I experienced him as a very generous and good man.
Grep to action
“Generous” – and “commitment” are words often used on Henning Mankell this day.
And it was what he was.
Henning managed to write ten books in the suite detective Kurt Wallander – the eleventh he could not finished – and they made him not only one of Sweden’s most read authors, but also of the world.
His books have sold over 40 million copies and been translated into more than 40 languages.
He has also written 20 novels and a dozen children’s books, the books of the girl Sofia Mozambique, who stepped on a land mine and lost both legs.
Plus, all the plays he sat up.
And yet – Henning Mankell was so much more than a writer and playwright.
He stayed not only in words – he resorted to action.
His motivation was to change “the terrible world we live in” a world that is literally often seemed to weigh on his shoulders and gave him a sharpness and a seriousness that was visible in his eyes.
Built a children’s village
He was in the left wave in the 1960s. He demonstrated against the Vietnam War, against the Portuguese colonial wars in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique.
He fought against aparheidregimen in South Africa and sailed with the protest ship “Ship to Gaza” in the struggle against the Israeli blockade and the war in Gaza .
Throughout life, he retained his commitment to the Third World.
1973 set his first foot in Africa – and have yourself described it as coming home.
In 1986 he became artistic director of the Teatro Avenida in Mozambique’s capital Maputo and moved there part time.
Solidarity, Africa – and vulnerable children have been constantly recurring themes in his books and plays.
It was for them, the weak and vulnerable, he was on fire.
Eight years ago gave Henning Mankell and his wife Eva Bergman SEK 15 million to SOS Children’s Villages, to build a village in Chimoio in western Mozambique.
TV series about the in-law
For many years, he divided his time between Maputo, Ystad and Särö.
It was also in Maputo, he wrote many books about Wallander – then saw Henning Mankell Sweden better, he thought.
The last year prevented the disease him from traveling to Mozambique, but he planned to go back in the fall.
The same day he died, he had a meeting scheduled in Varberg, to plan a new play, an adaptation of “auditor” of Gogol theater ensemble down there, along with director and friend Eyvind Andersen.
But Henning Mankell never again see the country and the people, who lay him heart.
Here at home, we can continue to enjoy his creation a long time.
In August next year SVT record “Ambassador”, a drama in six or eight parts of a Swedish embassy in Africa.
Three, four years ago wrote Henning Mankell is also a television series for SVT about his father, master director Ingmar Bergman, and his life.
The TV series, which is a lavish costume drama, thought he would be sent in 2018, when Ingmar Bergman would have turned 100 years.
And the books – and the films – is always there for those who want to read or see about.
I remember when I met Henning Mankell, a rainy evening in Lund, Sweden, for 20 years ago – at that time he was relatively unknown and many still believed that he was called “Mankell,” with emphasis on the last syllable.
Then he was younger than I am today, and his first book on Wallander, Faceless Killers, “went as television series – and his second,” The Dogs of Riga “would soon have theatrical release.
When Henning Mankell shivering hurried over Stortorget in Lund, a big, wet , grumpy teddy bear with beard and thick woolly sweater under his jacket, he recalled – Kurt Wallander, Rolf Lass Farm guise
– Yes, of course, much is taken from me. A lot of Wallander’s reasoning is my own way of reasoning, said Henning Mankell.
Both loved the opera, but there was one big difference:
– He has an infinitely more patience than I have in life’s diverse situations.
That’s how it started.
Today, when the name Mankell is on everyone’s lips, around the world, everyone knows how it pronounced.