Chris Pirsig was the son in the classic "Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" first published in 1974 - At about 8:00 P.M. on Saturday, November 17, 1979, in San Francisco, he left the Zen Center, where he was a student, to visit a friend's house a block away on Haight Street. According to witnesses, a car stopped on the street beside him and two men, black, jumped out. One came from behind him so that Chris couldn't escape, and grabbed his arms.
The one in front of him emptied his pockets and found nothing and became angry. He threatened Chris with a large kitchen knife. Chris said something which the witnesses could not hear. His assailant became angrier. Chris then said something that made him even more furious. He jammed the knife into Chris's chest. Then the two jumped into their car and left.
Chris leaned for a time on a parked car, trying to keep from collapsing. After a time he staggered across the street to a lamp at the corner of Haight and Octavia. Then, with his right lung filled with blood from a severed pulmonary artery, he fell to the sidewalk and died. Tamu.
It is unclear whether either of the assailants were ever apprehended or brought to trial.
ZATAOMM was a hard row to hoe .. I purchased a copy in the 1970's in response to the deluge of publicity it had received, it wasn't good and it wasn't bad actual motorcycle maintenance had scant coverage, while the last portion of the book dealt with the ethereal nature of quality. I passed it on to a friend who also became bogged down on the "quality" issue, he thought it was so so but readable .. I became suspicious for whatever reason as to why such a semi mediocre tome had gone to umpteen reprints. .. good luck to the guy just the same and RIP.