Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and actor Sam Shepard has died at the age of 73 following his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
He was surrounded by his children, Jesse, Hannah and Walker, and his sisters, Sandy and Roxanne Rogers. “The family requests privacy at this difficult time,” family spokesman Chris Boneau said.
Shepard was the author of 44 plays, in addition to several books. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his stage play Buried Child. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of World War II pilot Chuck Yeager in the 1983 historical drama The Right Stuff.
Shepard made his acting debut opposite Richard Gere and Brooke Adams in the 1978 film Days of Heaven. He later starred in movies including Resurrection, Steel Magnolias, Baby Boom, Never Here and The Notebook.
Other stage credits include Curse of the Starving Class, A Lie of the Mind, True West and Fool for Love among others. True West and Fool for Love both became Broadway productions and earned Pulitzer nominations.
Shepard starred in films such as Steel Magnolias and Black Hawk Down. Dash and Lilly, a television movie, earned Shepard an Emmy nomination. Recently he appeared in Netflix’s drama Bloodline in 2015 as the character Robert Rayburn.
Shepard is survived by his children, Jesse, Hannah and Walker Shepard along with his sisters, Sandy and Roxanne Rogers.