William Peter Blatty, the writer of The Exorcist, has died

Contributed by
May 3, 2017, 5:46 PM EDT (Updated)

The man who crafted one of the scariest films ever made has passed away.

William Peter Blatty, who became a legend to horror fans after writing the 1971 novel The Exorcist and the script for the 1973 cult classic film, died late Thursday. Blatty won an Academy Award for his work on the script.

The Exorcist director William Friedkin confirmed the news early this morning. Blatty was 89 years old and celebrated his birthday on Jan. 7. The cause of death has not been announced.

Though he's best known for The Exorcist, Blatty's contributions to the genre span decades. He directed The Ninth Configuration and The Exorcist III (writing both screenplays), while also writing the screenplays for Promise Her Anything, Mastermind, The Great Bank Robbery and several other films. He also wrote several novels outside of The Exorcist, including Legion, The Ninth Configuration and Crazy.

Blatty was a major talent in Hollywood, and though few of his other projects lived up to the massive cultural impact of The Exorcist, he made a lasting mark on the film world — and the horror genre in particular — that will be hard for anyone to surpass.

(Via Bloody Disgusting)