When Wayne Dyer was in the third grade, he misheard a teacher who called him a “disturbing element” and thought he was being called a “scurvy elephant.”
The misheard rebuke became words of inspiration in the mind of the man who would become a best-selling self-help guru, inspiring millions, The Washington Post reported. On Sunday, Dyer’s Facebook page announced his death at 75 with a reference to the term.
“Wayne has left his body, passing away through the night,” the post read. “He always said he couldn’t wait for this next adventure to begin and had no fear of dying. Our hearts are broken, but we smile to think of how much our scurvy elephant will enjoy the other side.”
The cause of death was not immediately reported, but Dyer was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2009, NBC News stated. He claimed to have treated it with positive thinking, daily exercise and “psychic surgery.”
As author of more than 40 books, including “Your Erroneous Zones” and “I Can See Clearly Now,” Dyer inspired not only readers and audiences but also speakers, executives and writers who were moved by his understanding of the world.
Social media was flooded condolences and quotes by Dyer. A quick review of Twitter suggested, however, that few organizations were jumping in. One doing so was Wanderlust, which advertises “epic adventures in yoga, music and nature,” paying tribute with a video of a speech he gave at an event it hosted in 2012.
— Wanderlust (@WanderlustFest) August 31, 2015
The connection makes that tweet meaningful. Christopher Barger, senior vice president of global programs at Voce Communications, said that if an organization has quoted Dyer in the past or frequently posts self-help or inspirational quotes, it would be appropriate to post now.
“But if the brand has never quoted Dyer before, I’d probably counsel a client not to do so now, because it would seem (to me) to be exploitative,” he said in an email.
Here are a few of Dyer’s quotes that inspired Twitter today:
1. On friends vs. family.
“Friends are God’s way of apologizing for your family.” ― Wayne W. Dyer
— Jeff Emmerson (@Beyond_ADHD) August 31, 2015
2. On who we really are.
— Jack Canfield (@JackCanfield) August 31, 2015
3. On changing your attitude.
— Amy Jo Berman (@TipsOnActing) August 31, 2015
4. On self-pity.
— QUOTES (@MotivatinQuotes) August 31, 2015
5. On enjoying the journey of life.
— Alberto Villoldo (@albertovilloldo) August 31, 2015
Along the fans who were moved by his death, some major celebrities also noted Dyer’s passing. Ellen DeGeneres recalled Dyer’s officiating at her wedding.
The world has lost an incredible man. Wayne Dyer officiated our wedding & was an inspiration to so many. Sending love pic.twitter.com/kzsCS278jr
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) August 30, 2015
The Washington Post added that Dyer’s “Christian-y” and “Buddhist-ish” philosophy began with a hard-luck childhood in Detroit.
“My mother had three small children under the age of four; and an alcoholic husband who walked away without ever providing any support,” The Post quotes Dyer as writing on his website. “She placed one of my brothers and me in a series of foster homes, while my other brother lived with my grandmother until I was ten years old. This is not a story of pity or blame; it’s precisely what had to take place in order for me to learn about self-reliance firsthand.”
Perhaps financial author Tony Robbins spoke for many with his sendoff.
Wayne Dyer has passed away today. 4 those of us who loved him it’s sad, but he knew death was a transition. We send love 4his next adventure
— Tony Robbins (@TonyRobbins) August 31, 2015