Walter Bonatti, who was one of the most influential climbers in the postwar scene in the European Alps and Himalayas has died at 81. Noted especially for his solo ascent of the Bonatti Pillar on the Dru in France, he was also embroiled in controversy regarding the Italian expedition to K2 in 1954. He retired for the most part from serious climbing at 35, after a solo new route on the Matterhorn in winter.The author of a number of books on climbing, he was regarded as one of the best writers on the sport.
The best obituary I have seen so far in English is at Planet Mountain.
An excellent profile from the Guardian in the UK is online as well.
At the end of the Guardian profile Bonatti was quoted as saying, "You see, the real essence of mountain climbing – of really knowing and loving the mountains – is not getting to the top. It's having the humility and self-awareness when necessary to be able to stop 100 metres from the summit and make it down alive."