Jackie Collins, one of the world’s top-selling novelists of all time, has died at age 77. The author was privately battling breast cancer when she passed away, according to a family statement released today.
E! Online reports that Collins’ family released an official statement indicating that the best-selling novelist passed away from Stage 4 breast cancer. Collins kept the illness to herself, only confiding in her medical team and her daughters until last year, when she went public with her illness.
“It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the death of our beautiful, dynamic and one of a kind mother, Jackie Collins, who died of breast cancer today.”
She lived a wonderfully full life and was adored by her family, friends and the millions of readers who she has been entertaining for over four decades.
Although she battled breast cancer for over six years, that didn’t stop Collins from her true passion of writing. The Santangelos, her latest novel about a family’s drama and hardships, hit the shelves of bookstores across the world summer, and quickly hit the New York Times Best Seller list.
During one of her last interviews with People magazine, in September, 2014, Collins reflected on her life and how her desires to keep her breast cancer fight private allowed her continue to focus on what she loved to do.
“I did it my way, as Frank Sinatra would say. I’ve written five books since the diagnosis, I’ve lived my life, I’ve travelled all over the world, I have not turned down book tours and no one has ever known until now when I feel as though I should come out with it. Now I want to save other people’s lives.”
Collins is survived by her three daughters, Tracy, 54, Tiffany, 48, and Rory, 46, whom she credited for making her the happiest.
“I’m so proud of them. I want them to feel secure and I want them to feel whatever happens, I’ll always be there.”
Her daughters and family, who seem to have felt the same way, ended today’s statement talking about their loss.
“She was a true inspiration, a trail blazer for women in fiction and a creative force. She will live on through her characters but we already miss her beyond words.”
Funeral services for Jackie Collins will be private, and take place in both the U.K. and the U.S. In lieu of flowers, family members asks supporters to donate to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Organization (U.S. based) or the Penny Brohn Cancer Care (U.K. based).
[Photos Courtesy of Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]