Bill Wittliff, 'Lonesome Dove' co-screenwriter, dies at 79

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Bill Wittliff (L) and his wife Sally Wittliff attend the Austin Film Society's 15th Annual Texas Film Awards at Austin Studios on March 12, 2015 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for Austin Film Society)

AUSTIN, Texas - Bill Wittliff, a prolific screenwriter who co-wrote the script for the 1989 miniseries "Lonesome Dove," has died at the age of 79.

His death was announced by Texas State University, where Wittliff had founded The Wittliff Collections with his wife, lawyer Sally Wittliff. Collections Music Curator Hector Saldana tells The Hollywood Reporter that Wittliff died Sunday of a heart attack.

Besides "Lonesome Dove," Wittliff was the writer and director of the 1986 film "Red Headed Stranger," shared screenplay credit on the 1979 film "The Black Stallion" and 1994's "The Legends of the Fall," and wrote the screenplays for the 1981 film "Raggedy Man" and 2000's "The Perfect Storm."

In a statement on the Collections' website, University President Denise Trauth called Wittliff and "inspiration" and "a Texas State hero."

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