Diagnosed with an untreatable hereditary kidney disease in 1988, Michael lived normally until declining health forced him into home dialysis in 2013. From there, he gained a new appreciation of two favorite singers: Mick Jagger (“What a drag it is getting old”) and Jim Morrison (“No one here gets out alive”).
As of 2021, Mike had published 357 books (a tribute to the .357 Magnum pistols, perhaps?), which included 258 novels and 99 nonfiction books. He also published 91 nonfiction articles, and 58 shorter pieces, including chapters in several bestselling true-crime anthologies. In 2017, Michael received the Lifetime Achievement Peacemaker Award from Western Fictioneers, honoring his publication of 62 western novels.
He wrote his own obituary: C’est la vie, and adios y’all.