Best-selling author Jackie Collins has died aged 77.
Known for her racy novels, which sold more than 500 million copies worldwide, Collins had secretly battled breast cancer for the last six-and-a-half years before passing away in Los Angeles.
“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,” her family said in a statement released yesterday.
“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.
“She was a true inspiration, a trailblazer for women in fiction and a creative force. She will live on through her characters but we already miss her beyond words.”
Dame Joan Collins also took to Twitter to pay tribute to her “beautiful brave baby sister”.
Farewell to my beautiful brave baby sister. I will love you and miss you forever. Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/pPR3KRRjUU
— Joan Collins (@Joancollinsdbe) September 20, 2015
Speaking to People magazine, the actress said she was “completely devastated” by the news of her sister’s death after her long battle with the disease. “I admire how she handled this,” she added. “She was a wonderful, brave and beautiful person and I love her.”
Jackie Collins – who was born in Britain but lived in Los Angeles – enjoyed a writing career that spanned over four decades. Her first novel, The World is Full of Married Men, was published in 1968 and went on to become a bestseller, also drawing criticism for its scandalous nature and branded “disgusting” by romance writer Barbara Cartland.
Collins went on to pen 32 novels, all of which appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, selling more than 500 million copies in 40 countries.
In 1985, her novel Hollywood Wives – which looked at the glamorous lives of women behind the scenes of the film industry – was turned into an ABC mini-series starring Anthony Hopkins and Candice Bergen.
The author had kept her illness secret, largely confiding in her three daughters – Tracy, 54, Tiffany, 48, and Rory, 46 – and only revealing her diagnosis to Joan in the last fortnight. “She was very shocked,” Jackie told People during what would be her final interview on 14th September.
When asked why she didn’t inform her sister sooner, she explained: “Because it would have really affected her. I just felt she didn’t need it in her life. She’s very positive and very social but I’m not sure how strong she is, so I didn’t want to burden her with it.”
A number of celebrities have also paid their respects on Twitter, including Sharon Osbourne, Kris Jenner and Donnie Wahlberg:
— Sharon Osbourne (@MrsSOsbourne) September 20, 2015
I'm so very sad to hear about @jackiejcollins She was the definition of a class act. Everyone who met her was Lucky.
— graham norton (@grahnort) September 20, 2015
— Donnie Wahlberg (@DonnieWahlberg) September 20, 2015
'I prefer women who kick a** and don't get their a** kicked.'
– Jackie Collins, OBE.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 20, 2015
So so sad about Jackie Collins. She was one hero I was determined to meet.
— Dawn O'Porter (@hotpatooties) September 20, 2015
I'm so sad to hear about the passing of Jackie Collins..my love and prayers go out to her family and… https://t.co/Lfe6naWFZo
— Kris Jenner (@KrisJenner) September 20, 2015
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) September 20, 2015
— Eamonn Holmes (@EamonnHolmes) September 20, 2015
Collins was married twice and is survived by her three daughters.