Horror legend William Peter Blatty, who wrote the 1971 novel The Exorcist, has died. William Friedkin, director of the 1973 film adaptation — widely regarded as the scariest film of all time — broke the news on Twitter this morning.
According to the Associated Press, 89-year-old Blatty, who celebrated his birthday on January 7, died at a hospital near his home in Bethesda, Maryland. The cause of death was multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer.
Not only did he craft one of the most iconic horror novels ever, but Blatty paved the way for other tales of chilling demonic possession, which has now become a hallmark of the #horror genre in all its head-spinning glory.
Blatty also penned the screenplay for the film version of #TheExorcist, which garnered him the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. He later went on to write and direct the third installment in The Exorcist franchise in 1990, which was adapted from his novel Legion.
A prolific horror scribe, Blatty's long list of written works includes Elsewhere, Dimiter and The Ninth Configuration, the latter of which he also adapted for the screen. In the wake of news of his passing, messages of respect have flooded social media.
This is a devastating loss for the horror community, but Blatty's contributions will undoubtedly continue to provide nightmare fuel for legions of fans for years to come. He leaves behind a legacy of some of the most unforgettable scenes in cinematic history.
The father-of-eight is survived by his fourth wife Julia Alicia Blatty.
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