Parents of Harvard's Chick-Lit Plagiarist Die in Plane Crash

The parents of Kaavya Viswanathan — the former Harvard undergrad whose literary career was cut short after her first novel was discovered to be partially plagiarized — died early this morning when their small plane crashed at Rickenbacker International Airport in central Ohio.

As reported by NYCAviation.com, the plane was piloted by Viswanathan Rajaraman (Viswanathan's brain surgeon father), and attempted to take off at 8:52 am when it crashed near the runway and caught fire, killing both Rajaraman and his wife, Mary Sundaram. The couple had stopped in Ohio to refuel as they made the journey back to their home in New Jersey after visiting their daughter.

In 2006, Viswanathan lost a two-book, half-million dollar contract with Little, Brown & Co. when substantial portions of her high-profile debut, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, turned out to be lifted directly from Megan McCafferty's 2001 novel, Sloppy Firsts.

In a Times profile of the writer published before the plagiarism scandal had broken, Viswanathan said of her parents: "They've always been very good about not putting pressure on me. I mean, I adore them." [NYC Aviation, photo via AP]