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(RNN) - Director and screen writer Nora Ephron has died, her publisher said in a statement released Tuesday night.
According to the New York Times, Ephron died of pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukemia.
The 71-year-old wrote the screen play for the romantic comedies Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally, as well as writing and directing You've Got Mail and Julie and Julia.
She was nominated for three Oscars during her Hollywood career.
Born on May 19, 1941 in Manhattan to a pair of screenwriters, Ephron followed in her parents' footsteps. She was considered one of the most influential women in Hollywood, going where few ever do in a male-dominated behind-the-scenes movie industry.
"In my business, the movie business, there are many more women directors, but it's just as hard to make a movie about women as it ever was," she told the graduating class at her alma mater Wellesley College in 1996.
Before she seemingly perfected the feel good romantic comedy, Ephron was a journalist and an essayist who, with characteristic sharp-tongued wit and humor, extolled the virtues and vices of email or self depricatingly described herself as an intern under President John F. Kennedy as "probably the only young woman who ever worked in the Kennedy White House whom the president did not make a pass at."
She wrote a number of books, including "I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman," a collection of essays on aging, and "Heartburn," a best selling novel about the breakup of her second marriage, later turned into a movie of the same name.
Word of Ephron's condition leaked Tuesday when gossip columnist Liz Smith posted a story essentially eulogizing her friend, leaving many unclear as to whether she was still alive.
Her publisher later confirmed Ephron was ill, but said she had not died.
The story was later taken down, but reposted after her death was confirmed.
Ephron is survived by her husband, writer Nicholas Pileggi, and two sons from a previous marriage.
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