Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Anne Rice’s 1986 novel Interview with the Vampire hit the bookshops just as the AIDS epidemic was taking hold
American author Anne Rice has died at the age of 80.
The author’s daughter, author Danielle, said on Twitter that her mother died after battling “multi-system neuroendocrine cancer” for two years.
In her only interview with BBC News, Rice said she began writing vampire novels in the 1960s because she was fascinated by human life.
Rice, who was divorced twice, was born in Louisiana and raised in Miami.
She was an accomplished linguist, and later wrote a historical romance series called The Silver Blood – named after the highest blood alcohol content found on a human subject.
While Rice was famous for her darker take on vampires, she said she became a Catholic during her younger years, leading her to reflect on the Catholic beliefs that informed her vampire work.
‘A major influence’
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Anne Rice, pictured with James Remar in 1992, was married three times and had five children
Rice’s breakthrough book, Interview with the Vampire, was first published in 1986, with the author adopting the character Lestat de Lioncourt because the publisher felt another character on the cover “didn’t quite fit”.
Rice was married three times, and had five children, including her daughter Danielle.
After her public break-up with her husband of 20 years, Richard Warren, in 1980, Rice hit back at haters in a letter she wrote to an American magazine.
“Lestat’s my alter ego because I think he is my future. And I go back to him because he would go back to me,” she said.
“I used to be married, but I’m not any more. And I write because I can’t be married. I’m not any good in a relationship.
“I could never forgive myself if I hadn’t said, ‘OK, if I don’t settle down, I’ll do it myself. If I don’t write and publish, I’ll live my life as I’ve always lived it’.”
Rice was a major influence on a generation of Goth-inspired horror authors, according to the Believer website.
On being nominated for the author’s prize for horror literature at the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Book Award in 1991, she said that she was “deeply grateful” and “grateful to each of you for loving my books”.
“I’m sorry that I’m not going to be with you for this.”
Rice is survived by her five children: Nathan Rice, Daniel Rice, Christopher Rice, Brooke Sheen, and Danielle Rice.