Author Anne Rice died of complications from a stroke on Sunday, December 11. She was 80.

Rice first came to prominence in 1976 when her debut novel, Interview with a Vampire became a huge bestseller. In its review from March 1976, PW called the book “extraordinary,” “macabre,” “eerie,” and “spellbinding,” and noted it “as compelling as it is outrageous.”

Born on October 4, 1941 in New Orleans, Rice, went on to publish 37 books, ranging from The Vampire Chronicles series, of which Interview with a Vampire was the first, to erotic novels published under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure, as well as several books based on Catholicism and Christianity, such as 2005’s Christ the Lord. In all, her books have sold more than 150 million copies around the world, reports Knopf, which remained her primary publisher throughout her life.

Rice wasn't shy about celebrating her success and was a familiar figure around her hometown of New Orleans for many years, where she was long-affiliated with the Garden District Book Shop, where one could always find limited and signed signed special editions of her books on sale. When the film version of Interview with a Vampire was finally released as a movie in 1994, after some 17 years in production and much initial criticism from Rice for the casting and characterizations, it sold $40 million in tickets. Rice, in her gratitude for the film, took out ads in Variety and The Advocate to celebrate the movie and to show support.

Rice also established a legacy that provided the groundwork for numerous other bestsellers in the vampire-related genre, notably Stephenie Meyer’s 100-million copy bestselling Twilight series. One of her two children, Christopher Rice, is also a bestselling novelist. (Rice's book cowritten with Christopher, Ramses the Damned: The Reign of Osiris, will be published in February 2022.)

Victoria Wilson, Rice's longtime editor at Knopf, said upon Rice's passing, “Anne was a fierce storyteller who wrote large, lived quietly, and imagined worlds on a grand scale. She summoned the feelings of an age long before we knew what they were. As a writer, she was decades ahead of her time. As a longtime friend, she loved and was beloved by everyone who worked with her at this house. The world will miss her and continue to know her again and again through the lives she imagined."