BEST-selling British author Jackie Collins has died of breast cancer in Los Angeles aged 77, her family has said in a statement.
“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,” the statement read.
“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 trail blazer for women in fiction and a creative force.
“She will live on through her characters but we already miss her beyond words.”
Collins – who was born in London in 1937 and was the sister of actress Dame Joan Collins – wrote 32 best-selling novels and sold over 500 million copies in her career.
Dame Joan led the tributes on Twitter saying: “Farewell to my beautiful brave baby sister. I will love you and miss you forever. Rest in peace.”
The actress only learned of her sister’s illness within the past fortnight – even though she had been diagnosed in 2009.
Jackie Collins’ debut novel, The World Is Full Of Married Men, was reportedly deemed “filthy and disgusting” by author Barbara Cartland and banned in Australia.
In an interview in 2008, Collins described the book as “way before its time” with its tale of a woman who cheats on her husband and another who likes sex with married men.
The author, who promised readers unrivalled insiders’ knowledge of Hollywood, said she wrote about “real people in disguise”.
“If anything, my characters are toned down – the truth is much more bizarre,” she wrote on her website.
Creating strong female characters in her books, of which several were made into films, was inspired by her family experiences while growing up.
Collins had said: “I like strong women. It comes from the fact that I grew up in a rather chauvinistic household.
“My father (theatrical agent Joseph Collins) was always very chauvinistic and my mother (Elsa) was always very gentle and laid-back.
“I didn’t like the inequality between them. I felt that she should have had more say in what was going on in the home.”
In an interview earlier this month, Collins, who was made an OBE two years ago, spoke of the tragedies in her life when people close to her died from illness.
“I lost my mother to cancer, my husband of 25 years to cancer and then my fiance. I know a lot about looking after people when they are sick,” she said.
“Oscar (Lerman, her second husband) was a very strong man who was 20 years older than me. I knew he’d had a fantastic life.
“My kids looked after him so wonderfully and I just kept writing.”
Collins, who lived in Beverly Hills, had three daughters and six grandchildren.SkyNews.com