Anne Rice, Best-Selling 'Vampire Chronicles' Author, Dies at 80
Anne Rice, the author of the eternally popular "Vampire Chronicles" series that helped her sell more than 150 million books in her career, died Saturday of complications from a stroke. She was 80.
Her novelist son Christopher Rice announced the sad news on her Facebook page, writing, "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 immensity of our family’s grief cannot be overstated," he went on. "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. 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."
There will be a private internment at Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans, and a celebration of life in 2022.
The enormously popular author had endured several health struggles, including falling into a diabetic coma in 1998 and nearly dying of an intestinal blockage in 2004 following gastric-bypass surgery.
Rice, born in New Orleans on October 4, 1941, enjoyed a household-name status few authors achieve following the publication of her gripping "Interview with the Vampire" in 1976. The story of ancient bloodsuckers named Lestat and Louis, as told to a young reporter by Louis, captivated the imaginations of generations, inspiring the hit 1994 film starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas and Kirsten Dunst, which grossed over $200M worldwide at the box office. It also led to a series of 12 others in the series, including the immensely popular "The Vampire Lestat" (1985) and "The Queen of the Damned" (1988), which were combined and adapted into the 2002 Aaliyah-starring film "Queen of the Damned."
Rice's vampires were elegant, tragic, leading louche lives, and experienced romantic longing. Along with becoming a mainstream best seller, Rice, with her themes of alienation, attracted a loyal LGBTQ following and was an outspoken supporter of LGBTQ rights.
A voracious researcher and prolific writer with some 36 novels to her credit, Rice also found success outside the realm of gothic vampire tales, publishing such works as the historical novels "The Feast of All Saints" (1979) — which became a 2001 Showtime miniseries — and "Cry to Heaven" (1982); a suite of erotic works under the pen names A.M. Roquelaure and Anne Rampling that included a quartet of "Sleeping Beauty"-themed works (1983-2015), "Exit to Eden" (1985), and "Belinda" (1986); the "Lives of the Mayfair Witches" trilogy (1990-1994); and two books that fictionalized the life of Jesus Christ (2005 & 2008).
Her explorations of Catholicism led to a short-lived devotion to religion beginning in 1998 as well as the publication of the 2008 memoir "Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession" (2008). By 2010, Rice renounced the current state of Christianity and declared herself a secular humanist.
Rice's last published novel was 2018's "Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat."
Her works were also adapted for the stage, comic books, and manga.
She was wed to poet and artist Stan Rice from 1961 until his death in 2002. She was also preceded in death by their daughter, Michele "Mouse" Rice, who died of leukemia in 1972.
Rice's son Christopher wrote of his mother's passing, "As she kissed Anne goodbye, her younger sister Karen said, 'What a ride you took us on, kid.' 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."