Author Douglas Adams Dead at 49

Douglas Adams, author of the cult science fiction comedy, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, has died at age 49.

British-born Adams died Friday of a heart attack in Santa Barbara, Calif., his London spokeswoman, Sophie Astin, said Saturday.

The Hitchhiker's Guide, first broadcast as a British Broadcasting Corp. radio series in 1978, was a satirical adventure about a group of interplanetary travelers; it opens with the Earth being destroyed to make way for an intergalactic highway.

It was turned into a television series, as well as a book that spawned several sequels, including The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life, the Universe and Everything and So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish.

Educated at Cambridge University, Adams began his career as a writer script editor at the BBC.

He went on to write several books about the "holistic detective" Dirk Gently and, with John Lloyd, the hilarious alternative dictionary The Meaning of Liff.

He was a frequent radio broadcaster on science and technology.

Adams was married with a daughter.