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Amy Krouse Rosenthal, the terminally ill children's book author who touched readers' hearts by writing an essay in search of her husband's next companion, died at her Chicago home from ovarian cancer on Monday, TODAY has confirmed. She was 51.
Rosenthal's heartbreaking essay, "You May Want To Marry My Husband," was published in the New York Times just ten days before her death. Written in the style of a dating profile for her husband, Jason Rosenthal, the essay was a poignant love letter to the man she fell head over heels for during a blind date nearly three decades ago.
"Everything Amy did was life and love affirming. She was such a bright light with a great sense of wonder. Amy loved her family. She loved words, ideas, connections," Amy Rennert, the author's longtime literary agent, said in a statement.
"She taught us that life's seemingly small moments are not really small at all," Rennert continued. "Amy's final essay, written under the most difficult of circumstances, a love letter to her husband Jason, was the ultimate gift to him and also to the rest of us. She leaves behind a legacy of love and beauty and kindness."
Bestselling author John Green ("The Fault In Our Stars") took to Twitter to praise his longtime friend's joyful spirit in a series of emotional tweets. "As a parent, a writer, a spouse, and a friend, Amy Krouse Rosenthal was what I wanted to be when I grew up," wrote Green.
In her essay, Rosenthal, who published both bestselling children's books— including "I Wish You More" and "Uni the Unicorn" — and critically acclaimed memoirs, set out to create a kind of personal ad for Jason, who, she knew, would soon be a widower.
"He is an easy man to fall in love with. I did it in one day," she wrote. "I have never been on Tinder, Bumble or eHarmony, but I'm going to create a general profile for Jason right here, based on my experience of coexisting in the same house with him for, like, 9,490 days."
Jason was an "absolutely wonderful" father to their three children, Justin, 24, Miles, 22, and Paris, 19.
He was also thoughtful, handy, and handsome. "I’m going to miss looking at that face of his," she wrote.
While the essay made readers' hearts ache in empathy, no one was more touched than Jason himself.
“I didn’t know exactly what she was composing,” he said in a statement released to PEOPLE. “But I was with her as she labored through this process and I can tell you that writing the story was no easy task. When I read her words for the first time, I was shocked at the beauty, slightly surprised at the incredible prose given her condition and, of course, emotionally ripped apart.
“I don’t have the same aptitude for the written word,” he said, “but if I did, I can assure you that my tale would be about the most epic love story...ours.”