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Peter Blatty, the man who wrote “The Exorcist”, died aged 89

The writer and filmmaker William Peter Blatty, the man who wrote The Exorcist, died late this week at a hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, aged 89, of multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer. "The Exorcist" was published in 1971, followed two years later by the film of the same name. It  was a best-selling novel and Oscar-winning movie the first horror film  nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.

It sold 10 million copies and the 1973 film, starring Linda Blair, and directed by William Friedkin, topped $400m (£325m) worldwide. The story is inspired by the 1949 exorcism of Roland Doe. It became a major commercial success, earning 10 Oscar nominations and winning two (Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay). "The Exorcist" was named the scariest movie of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

"When I was writing the novel I thought of it as a super-natural detective story, and to this day I cannot recall having a conscious intention to terrifying anybody, which you may take, I suppose, as an admission of failure on an almost stupefying scale," Blatty told the media in 2011. Blatty was married four times and had eight children. Blatty was born in New York as son of  Lebanese immigrants.

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