The acclaimed writer was diagnosed with cancer at 22, but he had been in remission until last year (11), when a tumour was found in his shoulder. He passed away in New York on Thursday (09Aug12).
Rakoff was known for his witty and often autobiographical articles for publications such as The New York Times, Newsweek and GQ magazine, and he was a contributor to U.S. radio show This American Life.
He also worked in theatre and TV, and won praise for adapting the screenplay for The New Tenants, a film which won an Academy Award for best live action short in 2010.
Rakoff gave readers an insight into his health battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma during his younger years in an essay titled Fraud, which was published in 2001, and he continued to use his illness as inspiration in 2011, when he wrote about receiving treatment for "a rather tenacious sarcoma around the area of my left collarbone".
Publishing editors at Doubleday and Anchor Books plan to release his final work, Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die; Cherish, Perish next year (13).