Author of Interview with the Vampire and its bestselling sequels Anne Rice has died at the age of 80 after suffering a stroke, her family confirmed.
Of her series of novels The Vampire Chronicles, two were adapted into major movies, Interview with the Vampire (1994), starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, and Queen of the Damned (2002), with Stuart Townsend and Aaliyah.
Rice's son, author Christopher Rice, shared the news on the author's public Facebook page, writing in a statement: "[I]t breaks my heart to bring you this sad news. Earlier tonight, Anne passed away due to complications resulting from a stroke. She left us almost nineteen years to the day my father, her husband Stan, died.
"The immensity of our family’s grief cannot be overstated. As my mother, her support for me was unconditional — she taught me to embrace my dreams, reject conformity and challenge the dark voices of fear and self-doubt. As a writer, she taught me to defy genre boundaries and surrender to my obsessive passions. In her final hours, I sat beside her hospital bed in awe of her accomplishments and her courage, awash in memories of a life that took us from the fog laced hills of the San Francisco Bay Area to the magical streets of New Orleans to the twinkling vistas of Southern California.
"As she kissed Anne goodbye, her younger sister Karen said, "What a ride you took us on, kid." I think we can all agree," Christopher Rice wrote. "Let us take comfort in the shared hope that Anne is now experiencing firsthand the glorious answers to many great spiritual and cosmic questions, the quest for which defined her life and career."
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He went on to say that "throughout much of her final years", fans and followers of her Facebook page had brought her much joy, "along with a profound sense of friendship and community".
Rice will be interred at the family's mausoleum at Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans in a private ceremony, he he confirmed.
The family is planning an open, public celebration of Rice's life in New Orleans next year.
Rice is one of the best-selling authors of all time, her books having sold over 150 million copies worldwide.