Julie Powell, the food writer best known for her hit memoir “Julie & Julia,” has died, her publisher said Tuesday. She was 49.
“‘Julie & Julia’ became an instant classic and it is with gratitude for her unique voice that we will now remember Julie’s dazzling brilliance and originality,” Judy Clain, editor in chief of Little, Brown and Company, said in a statement to NBC News.
“We mourn her loss with her husband Eric and her family. We are sending our deepest condolences to all who knew and loved Julie, whether personally or through the deep connections she forged with readers of her memoirs. She was a brilliant writer and a daring, original person and she will not be forgotten.”
Her husband, Eric Powell, told the New York Times the cause was cardiac arrest.
Powell’s “Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously,” released in 2005 and based on a series of her blog posts, was a bestselling hit. It chronicled a yearlong journey in which she cooked all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s classic cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”
Nearly 30 and working as a secretary at the time, Powell felt uninspired and decided to take her mother’s copy of Child’s book and attempt the recipes in her small New York City kitchen.
The book was adapted into the popular 2009 movie “Julie & Julia,” starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as Powell. Directed by Nora Ephron, the film weaves Powell’s cooking journey with Child’s as they get their starts in the culinary world.
Since arriving on the literary scene, Powell made appearances on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” and “The Martha Stewart Show.” She’s written for the New York Times, Bon Appétit and Food and Wine and won the James Beard Award twice.
Powell was also presented with an honorary degree from Le Cordon Blue in Paris, the school that Julia Child attended in 1950.
Powell is survived by her husband, her brother and her parents.