Novelist, Radio Broadcaster and Translator Uri Lotan Dies at 54

Lotan is often credited with introducing rock 'n' roll music to the Israeli mainstream.

Novelist, radio broadcaster and translator Uri Lotan, the disc jockey often credited with introducing rock 'n' roll to the Israeli mainstream, died Friday May 6, 2005 at the age of 54.

Lotan was hospitalized in late January after a fall in the stairwell of his Tel Aviv apartment building that left him paralyzed from the neck down.

Joining Army Radio during his military service, Lotan is considered to have been the person to bring rock music to the station in the late 60s. An anarchist at heart, Lotan's relaxed and casual style of presenting very much reflected his personality. He was the original host of the late-night show Tziporei Layla (Night Birds), which became one of Army Radio's most loved programs.

In his twenties, Lotan spent seven years in India, and later moved to San Francisco, where he fell in love with the music of the Grateful Dead. Until his death, he remained one of the band's most avid fans in Israel and abroad.

Returning to Israel in 1991, Lotan went on to write for a number of Israeli newspapers, including Hadashot, Ma'ariv and Haaretz. His regular column in Hadashot, called "Hachaim Kbatsal," (Life as an Onion) detailed his travels in India, and later became a book that is considered a cult classic in Israel.

His most recent column was for the "New Age" section of the Ma'ariv Web site. A renowned translator, among Lotan's most popular interpretations were Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Prozac Nation.

Uri Lotan was laid to rest on Sunday, May 8, 2005 at the Yarkon cemetery in Tel Aviv.