Best-selling author Jackie Collins has died of breast cancer at the age of 77, her publicist Melody Korenbrot told CNN on Saturday.
Collins’ stories of the sexy, glamorous lives of Hollywood made her one of the world’s top-selling novelists, according to her website. With titles such as “Hollywood Wives,” “Rock Star” and “The Stud,” she sold more than 500 million copies in more than 40 countries.
People magazine reported Collins was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer six-and-a-half years ago and chose to keep the illness private. The magazine said she confided in her three daughters, Tracy, 54, Tiffany, 48, and Rory, 46.
The Collins family issued a statement on Facebook, saying, “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 4 decades. 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.”
Her sister, actress Joan Collins, told People she was “completely devastated” by her sister’s death.
“She was my best friend, ” Joan Collins, 82, said. “I admire how she handled this. She was a wonderful, brave and a beautiful person and I love her.”
Jackie Collins’ website lists 33 books, many which were made into movies. Her most recent novel, “The Santangelos,” came out this month. The first line of the Amazon summary: “A vicious hit, a vengeful enemy, a drug addled Colombian club owner and a sex crazed Italian family… the ever powerful Lucky Santangelo has to deal with them all.”
Collins said she wrote all her books in longhand and tired to produce stories that entertained — with lots of sex.
“I like writing something that’s going to make people laugh, but also turn them on at the same time,” she told CNN’s Piers Morgan in a 2011 interview.
When he asked how many of the scenes in her books she’d actually experienced, she said, “Everything.”
Collins grew up in England and was something of “a wild child,” she said.
“My parents paid to get rid of me,” she told Morgan. “They had already burned my clothes. I was a punk before punk rockers existed. I had all these — I remember I had these yellow and black very tight pants and a very tight black sweater.
“And when I was like 14 I looked about 19. And I would sashay down the street and people would look at me and I would go, ‘Why don`t you take a picture, it will last longer.’ You know, one of those kids.”
At 15 she was sent to Hollywood to live with big sister Joan, who met her at the airport, tossed her the keys to the apartment and immediately left to film a movie in the Caribbean, Jackie Collins said.
“You look after yourself,” she remembered her sister saying. “Don`t tell Mummy — Mummy because we`re English — You don`t tell Mummy dear that you`re a wild thing.”
Jackie Collins said she lived life with verve, telling Morgan: “I’m a one-man band. I believe in life being an adventure. I get up every morning, and life is an adventure. I don’t know what I’m going to do except write. So I have a passion for writing.
“And I think in life, if you do what you love to do, it reflects in your whole personality.”
Services will be held privately, according to the family.
Fans and friends paid their respects on social media.
Sharon Osbourne @MrsSOsbourne tweeted, “Shocked & devastated at the death of @JackiejCollins. Loved & respected her. Thoughts & prayers go out to her family.”
Eric West @EricXWest tweeted, “So sad to hear about Jackie Collins passing away. She was a very sweet woman! @jackiejcollins #JackieCollins #RestInPeace”
Christopher Rice @chrisricewriter tweeted, “For many readers, Jackie Collins was their first encounter with fully formed, non-self loathing gay characters.”