I did not read Michael Crichton's books, but I'm still shocked and saddened that he's gone.
I'm surprised it took me two days to hear about it.
The one thing I remember about him is what my grade 11 biology teacher told me, which is that Michael Crichton (like my bio teacher) dropped out of med school to pursue writing (and one of his books is about his med-school experience).
According to his official biography on his webpage, this is totally false. He did graduate med school. In fact, his biography is full of over-accomplishment.
But his well-roundedness - in both the sciences and the art/craft of writing is inspiring.