Here are two artists whose work I value:
Edgar Allen Poe wrote stories that are still entertaining and relevant. He deals with dark themes, including murder, revenge, death, and loss. His writings really draw you in to the story. I especially like 'The Cask of Amontillado' (obviously) and 'Fall of the House of Usher'. The circumstances of his death in October 1849 are still unclear.
Douglas Adams is best known for the Hitchhiker's Guide series. He also was a scriptwriter for Dr. Who. I really like his detective stories with Dirk Gently. These are a long way from your standard 'whodunit' style mysteries. Dirk believes in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things, and refuses to eliminate the impossible as Sherlock Holmes would do. Adams died a tragic death back in 2001.
Well, that's quite depressing so I'll stop here. Look for more posts like this in the coming weeks.