Jackie Collins, the English novelist who turned sex, scandals and multiple marriages into a storied life that sold more than half a billion books, has died from breast cancer. She was 77 years old.
According to PEOPLE, Collins was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer six-and-a-half years ago. She chose to keep the illness largely to herself, confiding in her three daughters Tracy (age 54), Tiffany (48) and Rory (46). She died today (Sept. 19).
“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,” says the Collins family in a statement on Facebook.
“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 4 decades,” the statement continues. “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.”
Dubbed a “raunchy moralist” by director Louis Malle, Collins gained fame giving readers an inside look at the secret lives of the rich and privileged. Her first book, “The World is Full of Married Men,” used sexuality to expose a double standard and became a bestseller in the process. After hits like “Lovers and Gamblers” and “The Love Killers,” 1983’s “Hollywood Wives” gave her a #1 New York Times bestseller — and a highly-rated ABC movie starring Candice Bergen, Suzanne Somers and Anthony Hopkins. In the years that followed, she would write four more “Hollywood” novels, as well as the successful “Santangelo” and “Madison Castelli” series.
“Looking back, I’m not sorry about anything I did,” she explained, saying that she wanted the world to finally know about her diagnosis to raise awareness about the disease.
“I did it my way, as Frank Sinatra would say,” she added. “I’ve written five books since the diagnosis, I’ve lived my life, I’ve traveled 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.”
Tweets have already begun pouring in from a wide array of Hollywood stars, including Sharon Osbourne, Kris Jenner and Oprah Winfrey.