Variety reports the cause of death was suicide.
Born in 1957, Lafia started his entertainment career in the art department of various films before finding his calling as a screenwriter. He wrote the 1988 film The Blue Iguana, but his second film released that year, Child's Play, written along with Don Mancini and Tom Holland, was what moved his career forward.
Lafia went on to co-write and direct the 1990 sequel, Child’s Play 2. He also directed several episodes of genre television, including Freddy’s Nightmares, Dark Justice, Babylon 5, and The Dead Zone.
“We're devastated to hear of the passing of our friend John Lafia," Child's Play creator Don Mancini said in a statement, per Variety. "He was a crucial part of the Chucky family from the very beginning. He co-wrote the original ‘Child’s Play’ script along with director Tom Holland and myself, and John directed Child’s Play 2, the favorite consensus film among Chucky fans. John was an incredibly generous artist. He let me tag along with him to every meeting, and shadow him on set. He taught me more about filmmaking during the production of that movie than several semesters in film school. John was also one of the most naturally curious and constantly creative people I ever met, someone who was always taking pictures and jotting down ideas.”
Lafia is survived by his two children with his former wife, Beverly.