Sam Shepard, who played Chuck Yeager in 'The Right Stuff,' dies from ALS complications

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) – Actor and Pulitzer-winning playwright Sam Shepard has died from complications related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a representative for his family said on Monday.

Shepard, 73, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for his play “Buried Child,” died last week at home in Kentucky on Thursday, surrounded by his family, spokesman Chris Boneau said in a statement to Reuters.

“Buried Child” was the story of a family’s dark secret and, like many of his works, touched on disillusionment and broken families. His other plays included the Tony-nominated “True West,” “Curse of the Starving Class” and “Fool for Love.”

Shepard’s stoic manner and rugged good looks made him a solid choice to play test pilot Chuck Yeager in the 1983 film “The Right Stuff” – a role that earned him an Oscar nomination. His other films included “Days of Heaven,” “August: Osage County,” “The Notebook,” “Black Hawk Down” and “Steel Magnolias.”

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