William Peter Blatty, author of ‘The Exorcist’, dies aged 89

Blatty wrote both the classic horror novel and the subsequent screenplay for its successful film adaptation

William Peter Blatty, the author of the horror novel The Exorcist, has died aged 89.

Blatty’s most celebrated work came with his 1971 novel, which earned even greater success two years later following its notorious film adaptation. Blatty also penned the screenplay for that film, which had a huge impact on the horror movie genre as well as popular culture on the whole.

The director of the 1973 film, William Friedkin, first announced news of Blatty’s passing on his Twitter account yesterday (January 13). Praising him as his “dear friend and brother,” Friedkin confirmed that Blatty had passed away on Thursday (January 12) after suffering from multiple myeloma.

Horror writer Stephen King paid further tribute, praising Blatty as the man who wrote “the greatest horror novel of our time.”

Despite a trouble production and a controversial and somewhat muted launch, The Exorcist went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of all time, earning over $400 million in the box office. Blatty won an Academy Award for his screenplay at the 1973 awards, while the film became the first horror movie to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar in the same year.

Blatty also wrote and directed the second sequel The Exorcist III, which was released in 1990. A television adaptation of Blatty’s novel, meanwhile, was released in September 2016, airing on Fox in the US.