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Stars pay tribute to Nora Ephron

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Jun 27, 2012 | 5:00am EDT

The legendary screenwriter and director had been secretly battling acute myeloid leukemia and passed away following a bout of pneumonia.

Her shock death stunned Hollywood, and several of her former leading stars have spoken out to pay their respects to Ephron.

In a statement, When Harry Met Sally... actor Crystal says, "I am very sad to learn of Nora's passing. She was a brilliant writer and humorist. Being her Harry to (Meg Ryan's) Sally will always have a special place in my heart. I was very lucky to get to say her words."

Kidman, who was directed by Ephron in 2005's Bewitched, remembers her late pal as a "joy to be around" and adds: "She was so smart, warm and funny. I am so grateful that she was my friend and we had the opportunity to work together. My thoughts and love are with her family at this time. I will never forget the dinners, games and laughter we all shared."

Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail star Hanks tell E! News, "At a dinner table and on a film set she lifted us all with wisdom and wit mixed with love for us and love for life. (My wife) Rita (Wilson) and I are so very sad to lose our friend who brought so much joy to all who were lucky enough to know her."

In an email to The New York Times, Streep - the lead in Ephron's final film, 2009's Julie & Julia - writes, "Nora just looked at every situation and cocked her head and thought, 'Hmmmm, how can I make this more fun?' You could call on her for anything: doctors, restaurants, recipes, speeches, or just a few jokes, and we all did it, constantly. She was an expert in all the departments of living well."

A slew of famous faces have also taken to Twitter.com to praise Ephron - Jessica Biel ?declared, "Thank you for your ground breaking contributions for women in the film industry. You have truly paved the way. With respect...", while Bette Midler branded her pal "The Hostess with the Mostest", adding: "A brilliant soul, and we will all miss her so."

Minka Kelly, who appeared in the writer's stage show Love, Loss, And What I Wore, lamented, "What a tremendous loss.. All my love and thoughts to Nora Ephron's friends & family.. Truly honored to have worked with her", while Juliette Lewis told fans, "So sad... We did a movie called 'Mixed Nuts' when I was 20. She was funny intelligent and loving. One of a kind."

Steve Martin ?tweeted, "She was the one you wanted to read, to listen to, to be in the company of. Nora Ephron. Incomparable wit; delightful friend. Sadness reigns", Jennifer Love Hewitt offered, "Rip Norah Ephron. You spoke the words I could never find. Wrote about the love I hope to find and we will never find another you" and Zooey Deschanel told her followers, "I'm very sad about Nora Ephron, a hero for all funny ladies."

Alyssa Milano, Olivia Munn, Alan Cumming, Mia Farrow, Nia Vardalos, Kirstie Alley, Kaley Cuoco, Elijah Wood, Jennifer Grey and Henry Winkler also tweeted their tributes, while Ron Howard hailed Ephron as "brilliant, gracious and FUNNY" and Hanks' actor son Colin revealed: "Nora Ephron was devastatingly funny, extremely witty, and was ALWAYS one of the kindest people I have ever met."

Glee star Jane Lynch added personal memories she has of Ephron: "Nora, when I think of you I will remember perfectly scrambled eggs, Central Park and what I was wearing the moment I learned you were gone."

Ephron's family is planning her funeral, which is reportedly set for Thursday (28Jun12).

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