Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated actor Sam Shepard died on Thursday (27th July) at his home in Kentucky. He was 73.

According to Chris Boneau, a spokesperson for Shepard’s family, the actor passed away from complications related to ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and was with his family at the time of his death.

“The family requests privacy at this difficult time,” added Boneau.

Source: CNN

For the uninitiated, ALS (or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. According to the ALS Association, the disease usually strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, and approximately 20,000 Americans can have the disease at any given time.

Best known for his Pulitzer-winning play “Buried Child” (1979), the accomplished playwright has written 44 plays, starred in more than 50 films, and had more than a dozen roles on television. Some of Shepard’s most notable acting works include “The Right Stuff” (which earned him an Oscar nomination), “Steel Magnolias”, “Black Hawk Down”, and most recently, Netflix’s “Bloodline.”

Shepard is survived by his 2 sisters – Sandy and Roxanne Rogers – and his 3 children: 47-year-old Jesse Mojo (from his marriage to O-Lan Jones), as well as 31-year-old Hannah Jane and 30-year-old Samuel Walker (from his longtime relationship with Jessica Lange).

Sam Shepard and Jessica Lange (Source: CNN)

Upon hearing the news, many celebrities and fans expressed their grief. “I loved Sam. He has been a huge part of my life, who I am, and he will remain so.  I will let others talk about the importance and beauty of his work in theatre and film,” his good friend actor Ed Harris told PEOPLE.

Some of Shepard’ famous friends have taken to social media to mourn the star. See their heartfelt tweets here:


Rest in peace, Sam Shepard. You’ll be missed, always.

Sources: PEOPLE, CNN / Featured image: Toronto Star.

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