Melissa Mathison, screenwriter of the 1980s classic E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, succumbed to neuroendocrine cancer Wednesday, her family said.

The celebrated screenwriter, who was married to actor Harrison Ford for 21 years and with whom she has two children, died at her home in Los Angeles at the age of 65.

Mathison, who won an Oscar nomination for E.T., enjoyed a long career in the world of movies, starting in the 1970s as an assistant on the sets of Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather Part II and Apocalypse Now.

She met Ford on the sets of Apocalypse Now, in which he had a minor role, and their relationship lasted till 2004, when they separated following one of the most expensive divorces in Hollywood's history.

"Melissa had a heart that shined with generosity and love, and burned as bright as the heart she gave E.T.," E.T. director Steven Spielberg said in a statement.