Beloved author Shel Silverstein's Key West home severely damaged by Hurricane Irma

The Key West home of beloved author Shel Silverstein was severely damaged by Hurricane Irma, neighbors have confirmed to the Miami Herald.

Massive trees smashed two houses on Williams Street, one of them being the house where Silverstein, author of "The Giving Tree" and "Where the Sidewalk Ends," spent much of his life. It's unknown whether his partner, Sarah Spencer, or son still live in that house.

Tragically, Silverstein suffered multiple tragedies before his death at age 68. After being drafted in to the US Army, he returned to America and had a daughter, Shoshanna, with a California woman named Susan Taylor Hastings. Hastings died one day before Shoshanna's fifth birthday. Instead of taking Shoshanna in himself, Silverstein -- largely an absent father, which friends say he regretted later in life -- had her live with an aunt and uncle.

Just a few years later, Shoshanna's own life ended of a cerebral aneurysm when she was just eleven years old. "A Light in the Attic" is dedicated to her.


Two years after Shoshanna's death, Silverstein had a son, Matthew, with Spencer. Spencer is a Key West native who drove the Conch Train, a sightseeing bus that carts tourists around the historic island. She inspired Silverstein's song "The Great Conch Train Robbery."

Perhaps in part because of this unexpected and devastating development, when Matthew was born, Silverstein was much more of a full-time father. "Falling Up" is dedicated to his son.

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