Novelist and gay icon Jackie Collins passed away after a battle with breast cancer, reports
"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 Collins family told
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 trail blazer for women in fiction and a creative force. She will live on through her characters but we already miss her beyond words."
"I had just written the book
and I went on the
when Joan Rivers was hosting it," she told
of the first time she realized her large gay following. "I wore a jacket and a black shirt - with a couple of the buttons undone - and a white tie. It was a very sexy and effective outfit. Then a few weeks later, there was a gay parade in Hollywood and tons of people were dressed as me and Joan Rivers. It was crazy. My friends drove up and down the boulevard taking pictures of them and that's when I knew."