Fans around the world are mourning the loss of best-selling author Jackie Collins, who died Saturday according to CNN. Her death follows a lengthy battle with breast cancer. Collins was 77.
Collins, who was born in London, was reportedly diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer more than six years ago. At that time, she chose to keep the illness private, sharing the diagnosis only with her three adult daughters, Tracy, Tiffany and Rory.
Last week, however, she revealed her illness to People magazine during an interview. “Looking back, I’m not sorry about anything I did,” Collins said. “I did it my way, as Frank Sinatra would say. I’ve written five books since the diagnosis, I’ve lived my life, I’ve travelled 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.”
Following her death, Collins’ family shared the following 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. 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.”
The Susan G. Komen Foundation describes stage 4, or advanced, breast cancer as one that has spread beyond the breast to other organs in the body, usually bones, lungs, the liver or the brain. Also according to the Komen Foundation, survival rates for metastatic breast cancer vary greatly from person to person. The website cites one study that found that about 37 percent of women lived at least three years after diagnosis with metastatic breast cancer. Still others may live 10 or more years beyond diagnosis. The Foundation notes all these findings are based on women diagnosed before some of the newer treatments for metastatic breast cancer were available.
Fortunately, modern treatments for both early stage and metastatic breast cancer have improved survival for women diagnosed today. Collins’ death comes less than two weeks before Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is designed to raise awareness of breast cancer, and philanthropic support for breast cancer research.
During her long and illustrious career, Collins wrote a total of 32 novels, and they’ve all appeared on the New York Times bestsellers list, selling more than 500 million copies. Eight have been adapted for the screen.