‘Exorcist’ author William Peter Blatty dead at 89

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NEW YORK (AP) – William Peter Blatty, the author of “The Exorcist,” has died. He was 89.

Blatty’s widow, Julie, says her husband died Thursday at a hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. She says the cause of death was multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer.

Blatty was a former Jesuit school valedictorian who conjured a tale of demonic possession and gave millions the fright of their lives with the best-selling novel and Oscar-winning movie.

Blatty’s story of a 12-year-old-girl inhabited by a satanic force was published in 1971 and sold more than 10 million copies. The film, starring Linda Blair, came out two years later and its box office topped $400 million worldwide.

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Associated Press writer Ben Nuckols in Washington contributed to this report.

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