Famed atheist and author of The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins, suffered a "minor stroke" on Saturday forcing him to cancel his planned tour of Australia and New Zealand.
"On Saturday night Richard suffered a minor stroke, however, he is expected in time to make a full or near full recovery. He is already at home recuperating. This unfortunately means Richard will be unable to make his planned Australian and New Zealand tour. He is very disappointed that he is unable to do so but looks forward to renewing his plans in the not too distant future," his management said in a statement released by the Sydney Opera House.
Dawkins was expected to share highlights of his scientific journey and his passionate engagement in debate as a leader of the resurgent Atheist movement on Feb. 28 which was sold out, according to the Sydney Opera House.
No mention of his stroke has been highlighted on his social media pages. In fact, his latest post on Twitter is a promotion of a book released earlier this month by his atheist colleague and former evangelical preacher Dan Barker titled "God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction" for which he wrote the foreword. Barker is also co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
"Dan knows his Bible inside out. He's preached from it, thrust it in the face of countless victims of the doorstepping young pastor he once was. He has now seen the light in a big way, and I know nobody better qualified to assemble this remarkable anthology of sheer, unadulterated nastiness," wrote Hawkins of the book in the foreword.
Dawkins' first book, The Selfish Gene, published in 1976, has sold more than 1 million copies. He is best known for The God Delusion published in 2006, which has sold more than 3 million copies.
He has been a relentless critic of religion and defends his aversion to it in the final paragraph of his foreword in Barker's book.
"We have all become acculturated to the idea that criticizing religion is somehow not done, it's bad taste, you just don't do it. The result is that even mild criticism sounds a lot stranger that it really is. My Chapter 2, first sentence, is not mild. But it is nothing less than the truth, truth about both the letter and the spirit of the Bible," said Dawkins who points to Barker's book for the evidence.