Unless you have not read all your blog roll today you know that Jack Vance has died.
Vance was one of the Godfaters of D&D to be honest. The "cast and forget" spell system D&D has used since day one is called a "Vancian Spell system". The Lich Vecna is an anagram of Vance. Ioun stones and a whole host of other things I am not thinking of too.
To me though the great contribution of Jack Vance to D&D is his Dying Earth series. There is a feel to those books are are so D&D. Even more so than say the worlds of Connan or Elric.
If you want another good source of inspiration, try his Lyonesse trilogy. I remember these from the 80s and thought they had a style and sophistication above and beyond the dross I was reading then.
Indeed we mark the passing of another giant.