Jean-Christophe Peuch -- Radio Free Europe

... It was during this period that Orwell developed the taste for the simple, bohemian lifestyle that marked the rest of his years. It was also the time that spawned his deep political commitment. The former British colonial policemen had already nurtured a profound distaste for any form of imperialism, but had not yet begun to think of himself as a socialist ... While Orwell was polishing "1984" on the Scottish island of Jura , he became ill and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. He died in a London hospital on 21 January 1950, at the age of 46. In the words of his biographer, Orwell has marked his place in the history of literature as a man who succeeded in "making political writing into an art." But for him, politics and literature were equally important.
http://www.netcharles.com/orwell/articles/col-rfe.htm