Nora Ephron Dead at 71

Nora Ephron on January 13, 2011 in New York City.  

Hollywood will never be the same.

Legendary screenwriter Nora Ephron passed away Tuesday evening at the age of 71 after losing her battle with acute myeloid leukemia, her family tells Us Weekly in a statement.

According to her loved ones, the writer/director spent her last moments "surrounded by her family" at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

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Over the course of her nearly four decade-long career as a screenwriter, Ephron penned numerous beloved films, including When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. She was a three-time Academy Award nominee for her original screenplays; in the early aughts, she took on writing for the stage. (In 2009, she coauthored the ensemble show Love, Loss, and What I Wore with sister Delia, also a screenwriter). Her 2010 collection of essays, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Reflections on Being a Woman, was number one on The New York Times' bestsellers list.

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Ephron's first marriage to writer Dan Greenburg ended in divorce in 1976. Later that year, she married famed Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, though the pair split in 1980. Seven years later, Ephron tied the knot for the third time with screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi.

After the filmmaker's health took a turn for the worse Tuesday afternoon, Deadline reported that Ephron had kept her illness a secret from fans and colleagues, and "wanted it to remain a private matter."

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The day of her passing, Ephron's longtime friend Liz Smith eulogized the writer in a touching essay.

"She was the Untouchable, the Meryl Streep of our writing times, a peer to glance upwards at while you pretended to be her equal," Smith wrote. "I won't say, 'Rest in Peace, Nora' — I will just ask, 'What the hell will we do without you?'"

Ephron is survived by her husband Pileggi, her three younger sisters Delia, Amy, and Hallie (all writers), and her two grown sons, journalist Jacob Bernstein and guitarist Max Bernstein.

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