American author and screenwriter William Blatty passed away on Thursday aged 89 after a brief battle with cancer. He is survived by his widow Julie who confirmed the sad news with media that he had been diagnosed with Myeloma, an aggressive form of blood cancer just last month. The disease rapidly deteriorated Blatty’s health in a short period of time while hospitalised at Bethesda, Maryland. Those who knew him or were touched by his work paid tribute on Twitter today.
Steven King described the Exorcist as the great horror novel of our time.
RIP William Peter Blatty, who wrote the great horror novel of our time. So long, Old Bill.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 13, 2017
William Friedkin directed the original Exorcist movie in 1973 and described Blatty as not only a friend but also a brother:
William Peter Blatty, dear friend and brother who created The Exorcist passed away yesterday
— William Friedkin (@WilliamFriedkin) January 13, 2017
Brianne Howey who plays Kat Rance in the recent 2016 TV version of the Exorcist had this to say thanking hime for sharing his stories and inspiring others to do the same:
William Blatty gives his acceptance speech at the 46th Annual Academy Awards
Blatty wrote a number of horror novels during his literary career in the 70s, 80s and 90s, including Legion (1983) which like The Exorcist focused strongly on demonic possession and was also featured on the New York Time bestseller list. It was the Exorcist, first published in 1971 and then subsequently adapted to screen in 1973 which earned Blatty the most fame and spawned a new generation of horror writers.
He is survived by his six children.
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