Oscar-nominated screenwriter Melissa Mathison has passed away. Mathison, who wrote the original screenplay for Steven Spielberg's "E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial," died on Wednesday in Los Angeles, according to Deadline. Her brother Dirk confirmed that she passed from a long illness. She was 65.
The popular screenwriter also wrote "The Black Stallion," "The Escape Artist," "Indian in the Cupboard" and "Kundun," according to The Hollywood Reporter. Her most recent collaboration was once again with Spielberg for "The BFG," which is currently in post-production and is set for release in 2016.
Mathison and actor Harrison Ford met when she was a young assistant on the set of "Apocalypse Now" in 1976. They married in 1983 in a 15-minute ceremony and went on to have two children together, Malcolm and Georgia, before splitting in 2004.
"Melissa had a heart that shined with generosity and love and burned as bright as the heart she gave E.T.," Spielberg said in a statement, according to Variety.
When "E.T.'s" special edition DVD was released, Spielberg credited her heavily for the film's success. "Melissa delivered this 107-page first draft to me and I read it in about an hour," he said. "I was just knocked out. It was a script I was willing to shoot the next day. It was so honest, and Melissa's voice made a direct connection with my heart."