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“Because there is no cosmic point to the life that each of us perceives on this distant bit of dust at galaxy’s edge,” he once wrote, “all the more reason for us to maintain in proper balance what we have here. “Because there is nothing else. No thing. This is it. And quite enough, all in all.”

Vidal is survived by his half-sister Nina Straight and half-brother Tommy Auchincloss.

Italie reported from New York.