William Peter Blatty, the Academy Award-winning author, screenwriter and creator of The Exorcist, has passed away just 5 days after celebrating his 89th birthday.

Director William Friedkin broke the devastating news via Twitter on Friday morning, followed by a confirmation from Blatty’s widow, Julie, revealing he had died on Thursday at a hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. The cause of death was multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer.

Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.