October 26th, the world of fantasy art lost one of its truly bright stars with the passing of Keith Parkinson. I'm sure I speak for many if not most artists, particularly in my generation, who would all agree that Keith's work was immensely inspiring to us as we pondered our own futures as artists.
I had the pleasure of meeting Keith twice in the last couple of years, including when he was already ill, yet he was very generous with his time and advice in talking with me about my work. From those who knew him as a friend I am told that he was every bit as wonderful a man as his paintings, and I wish I'd had more opportunity to discover that myself.
If you do not know Keith's work from Dungeons & Dragons, countless book covers, or Everquest, you have missed out, and I would advise you catch up at his website, though it has not been updated for quite some time.
He had not done much illustration the last couple of years, as his time had been focused on creating a new MMORPG which bears his distinctive visual style. The game is still in development, but you can learn about it at the official site for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, when their memorial page is gone but which I'd encourage you to read for a very personal look at the man.
Donations in Keith's memory can be made to The Leukemia & Lymphoma society (Thanks to Donato Giancola for the recommendation).