William Peter Blatty, 'Exorcist' author, dead at 89

William Peter Blatty attends the world premiere opening of "The Exorcist" at the Geffen Playhouse on Wednesday July 11, 2012 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision for the Geffen Playhouse/AP Images)

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.

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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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