Departed

'Exorcist' author William Peter Blatty dead at 89

In this Sept. 29, 2010 file photo released by Starpix, "The Exorcist" author William Peter Blatty, left, joins Linda Blair, who starred in the 1973 film and William Friedkin, the film's director, at a screening of the remastered film at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

In this Sept. 29, 2010 file photo released by Starpix, "The Exorcist" author William Peter Blatty, left, joins Linda Blair, who starred in the 1973 film and William Friedkin, the film's director, at a screening of the remastered film at the Museum of Modern Art in 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.