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Anne Rice, iconic author of gothic novels, dies at 80

Rice may be best known for her first novel, "Interview with the Vampire," that was published in 1976 and went on to become one of the best-selling novels of all time.
Anne Rice death
Anne Rice attends the book signing and in conversation with Christopher Rice for "Prince Lestat and The Realms of Atlantis" at Barnes & Noble on Dec. 6, 2016 in Huntington Beach, California.Phillip Faraone / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Best-selling author Anne Rice has died, according to posts on her social media pages. She was 80 years old.

"Dearest People of Page. This is Anne’s son Christopher and it breaks my heart to bring you this sad news. Earlier tonight, Anne passed away due to complications resulting from a stroke. She left us almost nineteen years to the day my father, her husband Stan, died," the post said. "The immensity of our family’s grief cannot be overstated."

Rice may be best known for her first novel, "Interview with the Vampire," that was published in 1976 and went on to become one of the best-selling novels of all time. It later was made into a motion picture in 1994, directed by Neil Jordan starring Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst and Antonio Banderas.

Rice continued her saga of the Vampire Lestat in a series of books, collectively known as The Vampire Chronicles. She also is also the author of other popular novels, including "The Witching Hour," "Servant of the Bones," "Merrick," "Blackwood Farm," "Blood Canticle," "Violin" and "Cry to Heaven."

Anne Rice poses for portraits Oct. 19, 1992 in Louisiana.Bryce Lankard / Getty Images

Her novel, "Feast of All Saints," about the free people of color of antebellum New Orleans became a Showtime mini series in 2001.

Rice was married to poet Stan Rice for 41 years, until his death in 2002. The couple had two children, a daughter, Michele, who died of leukemia at five years old in 1972; and a son, Christopher Rice, who also is a best-selling author. Together they wrote the historical-horror novels "Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra" and its sequel, "Ramses the Damned: The Reign of Osiris."

"As my mother, her support for me was unconditional — she taught me to embrace my dreams, reject conformity and challenge the dark voices of fear and self-doubt," he wrote in the post announcing her death. "As a writer, she taught me to defy genre boundaries and surrender to my obsessive passions. In her final hours, I sat beside her hospital bed in awe of her accomplishments and her courage, awash in memories of a life that took us from the fog laced hills of the San Francisco Bay Area to the magical streets of New Orleans to the twinkling vistas of Southern California."

Anne Rice and son Christopher Rice in 2013.Rob Kim / WireImage

Christopher Rice also shared other details about his mother's last moments.

"As she kissed Anne goodbye, her younger sister Karen said, 'What a ride you took us on, kid,'" he shared. "I think we can all agree. Let us take comfort in the shared hope that Anne is now experiencing firsthand the glorious answers to many great spiritual and cosmic questions, the quest for which defined her life and career. Throughout much of her final years, your contributions to this page brought her much joy, along with a profound sense of friendship and community."

Rice will be interred at her family's mausoleum at Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans in a private ceremony. The statement said a celebration of life will take place in New Orleans sometime in 2022 that will be open to the public.