'Love Story' Author Erich Segal Dies at 72

The book was made into a popular movie starring Ali McGraw and Ryan ONeil.

The book was made into a popular movie starring Ali McGraw and Ryan ONeil.

Erich Segal, the author of the hugely popular novel "Love Story," has died of a heart attack, his daughter said Tuesday. He was 72.

Francesca Segal said her father died Sunday at his home in London. She said he had suffered from Parkinson's Disease --a neurological condition that affects movement -- for 25 years. His funeral was held in London on Tuesday, she said.

Segal was a Yale classics professor when he gained nationwide fame for the book "Love Story" about a young couple who fall in love, marry and discover she is dying of cancer.

The book was turned into a hit film in 1970, starring Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw. It gained seven Oscar nominations -- including one for Segal for writing the screenplay, as well as for best picture, best director and best actor and actress (O'Neal and MacGraw.) It won one Oscar, for best music.

Its most famous line -- "Love means never having to say you're sorry" -- became a national catch phrase.

Segal's daughter said that her father fought hard again Parkinson's Disease.

"That he fought to breathe, fought to live, every second of the last thirty years of illness with such mind-blowing obduracy, is a testament to the core of who he was -- a blind obsessionality that saw him pursue his teaching, his writing, his running and my mother, with just the same tenacity. He was the most dogged man any of us will ever know," she said in a eulogy she read at his funeral and e-mailed to the AP.

Segal was an honorary fellow of Wolfson College at Oxford University.

He is survived by his wife, Karen James, and daughters Francesca, 29, and Miranda, 20.