'The Hate U Give' Screenwriter Audrey Wells Dies Just a Day Before Film's Release

The screenwriter of films The Hate U Give and Under the Tuscan Sun has died of cancer. She was 58

"Under The Tuscan Sun" Hollywood Premiere
Photo: J. Merritt/FilmMagic

The screenwriter of films The Hate U Give and Under the Tuscan Sun has died after a long battle with cancer. She was 58.

Audrey Wells was remembered by her husband, Brian Wells, in a statement released on his behalf by her agency UTA.

“Over the last five and a half years, Audrey fought valiantly against her illness and she died surrounded by love,” Brian said in the statement obtained by multiple outlets. “Even during her fight, she never stopped living, working or traveling, and she never lost her joy, wonder and optimism. She was, simply, the most incredible wife and partner imaginable, and she knew always that she was loved by Tatiana, me and the friends who were her chosen family.”

“She said just recently, ‘We’re so lucky, honey. We got to live a love story. Who gets to do that?’ We will carry her forward with us forever — as a mother, as a wife, as an artist and creator, and as a friend. She was irreplaceable.”

She is also survived by her daughter, Tatiana.

A rep for Wells did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. Tragically, Wells never got to see the final product of her screenplay in theaters as she died just one day before The Hate U Give was released in theaters Friday.

The film is based on the immensely popular YA novel of the same name by Angie Thomas. The story follows a high school girl named Starr, who witnesses a police officer shoot her best friend.

Thomas honored Wells on Instagram Friday, writing, “‪It was a joy to work with Audrey, and I’m forever grateful for what she gave us with The Hate U Give. She will truly be missed.

Wells was responsible for writing such films as Under the Tuscan Sun which she also produced and directed in 2003 with Diane Lane in the starring role.

She also wrote the script for the 2000 Bruce Willis film The Kid which centers on an unhappy image consultant who gets a chance to relive life when he is confronted by an 8-year-old version of himself.

In 1997, she wrote the script for George of the Jungle starring Brendan Fraser and Leslie Mann, as well as 2004’s Shall We Dance with Jennifer Lopez, Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon.

One of her last films to hit the big screen was 2017’s A Dog’s Purpose on which she was one of the writers.

The Hate U Give is in theaters Friday.

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