''I don't have a life-threatening disease. My life is threatening my disease, in that it is keeping the disease from taking over. I have a disease-threatening life.''From his 1997 interview with Helen Tworkov in Tricycle, the Buddhist magazine they both helped to found in 1991. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in '94 and died in 99.
Here is a link to his NYT obit, just in case you are as curious and as ignorant as I am. (Oddly enough, I am familiar with two of his books, "How the Swans Came to the Lake," and "Chop Wood, Carry Water.") Here's a link to his 1998 interview about death and dying in The Utne Reader.