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Sam Shepard, Pulitzer-winning playwright and actor, dies at 73

KENTUCKY--  Sam Shepard, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated actor, died on Thursday at his home in Kentucky. He was 73.

Chris Boneau, a spokesperson for Shepard's family, tells CNN he died of complications of ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Shepard authored more than 40 plays, winning the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1979 for his play "Buried Child," which explored the breakdown of the traditional American family. The Broadway production of the drama was nominated for five Tony Awards in 1996.

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 18: Actor Sam Shepard attends The 10th Anniversary LG Music Lodge At Sundance With Elio Motors And Tervis on January 18, 2014 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Clayton Chase/Getty Images for LG Music Lodge)

Shepard, a native of Fort Sheridan, Illinois, received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor in 1993 for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager in the astronaut drama "The Right Stuff."

His other notable on-screen work includes performances in "Steel Magnolias," "Black Hawk Down" and most recently, the Netflix drama "Bloodline."

Shepard is survived by three children and two sisters.

"The family requests privacy at this difficult time," Boneau said in a statement to CNN.