Julie Powell, food writer and blogger behind Julie & Julia, dies aged 49

Food blogger played by Amy Adams in the film inspired by her memoir, about trying to cook more than 500 Julia Child recipes in a year

Julie Powell, the food blogger best known for her cooking memoirs Julie & Julia, which inspired the film starring Meryl Streep, has died at the age of 49.

Her husband, Eric Powell, confirmed to the New York Times that he died of a heart attack caused by a cardiac arrhythmia at their home in Olivebridge in upstate New York on October 26.

Powell rose to prominence in 2002 when, approaching his 30th birthday as "a secretary living with her husband, three cats and a python above a restaurant on a barren street in Long Island City," she set out on her own year-long quest for recreated all 524 recipes from his mother's copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1, the 1961 classic by Julia Child, a TV chef and expert on French cooking in the US.

An untrained cook, Powell documents her struggles in the kitchen via the popular, witty and self-deprecating food blog Julie/Julia Project at Salon.com.

Food editor Amanda Hesser, who wrote about Powell's project in the New York Times in 2003, said in an email after his death: “His writing is so fresh, uplifting – sometimes harsh! – and very unattached to any tradition… The Internet is democratizing food writing, and Julie is the new school's first signature voice.”

In 2005, Powell's blog became a Julie & Julia bestseller: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen; the paperback edition was subtitled “My Year of Dangerous Cooking”.

Her memoirs inspired the 2009 film Julie & Julia, which starred Amy Adams as Powell and Meryl Streep as Julia Child. It was the last film written and directed by Nora Ephron, who died in 2012.

In 2009, Powell published his second book, Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession, which explored her relationship with her husband.

Its publisher, Judy Clain, editor-in-chief of Little, Brown and Co, paid tribute to Powell, writing: “Julie & Julia became an instant classic and with gratitude for her unique voice, we will now remember the dazzling Julie. brilliance and originality.”

Powell is survived by a husband, brother and parents.

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