Joan Collins leads tributes as sister Jackie dies of breast cancer, age 77

Best-selling author passed away yesterday (September 19)

Best-selling author Jackie Collins has passed away after losing a six and a half year battle with breast cancer.

News of Collins’ death was announced yesterday (September 19) with sister Joan later paying tribute to her sibling.

“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,” Collins’ family said in a statement.

“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 trailblazer for women in fiction and a creative force. She will live on through her characters but we already miss her beyond words.”

“She was my best friend,” sister Joan added in a separate statement given to People. “I admire how she handled this. She was a wonderful, brave and a beautiful person and I love her.”

Sandra Bullock, who once starred in Lucky Chances, a TV miniseries version of Jackie Collins’ novels ‘Lucky and Chances’, added: “That smart, talented, and gorgeous woman paved the road for so many of us so that we could experience a much smoother journey … with or without heels. Heaven … watch out!”

Collins was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and chose to keep her illness a secret from the general public.

“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,” Collins told People just last week (September 14) in one of her last recorded interviews.

See a selection of Twitter tributes from celebrity friends and fans below:

http://storify.com/nmemagazine/jackie-collins-rip