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Michelle McNamara, Crime Writer Married to Comedian Patton Oswalt, Dies at 46

Michelle McNamara, a crime writer married to comedian and actor Patton Oswalt, died at her home in Los Angeles, according to Oswalt's publicist. McNamara was 46.

Image: Michelle McNamara
Actor Patton Oswalt and his wife Michelle McNamara attend LACMA Art + Film Gala at Los Angeles County Museum of Art on November 5, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. John Shearer / Getty Images, file

McNamara died in her sleep Thursday, Kevin McLaughlin of Main Stage Public Relations said Friday. No cause was given, but McLaughlin said her passing "was a complete shock to her family and friends, who loved her dearly."

McNamara graduated from the University of Notre Dame and received a master's degree in creative writing from the University of Minnesota. She founded the website True Crime Diary, which covers both breaking stories and cold cases.

In a 2007 online interview, McNamara said she started the blog almost as a lark. "I wanted to get more involved in the cases that were fueling my own curiosity," she said.

She didn't focus on the big celebrity murder case but ones that were smaller and out of the public eye. She wrote about the Golden State Killer and the 1976 murder of nurse Melanie Howell.

"It's the ones that really don't get that much attention that interest me because I think what's interesting about them is there's more stuff to be unearthed that hasn't been in the public yet and you can do it."

Oswalt is a comedian whose TV credits include "Veep," ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and "The King of Queens" and films including "Magnolia," ''Starsky & Hutch" and "Ratatouille." McNamara and Oswalt married in 2005.

The couple have a 7-year-old daughter, Alice.

Oswalt, a prolific tweeter, shared a news story on Twitter about McNamara's death, but has not issued a statement. Members of the comedy community tweeted their condolences to Oswalt throughout the night.