5 Times Jackie Collins inspired us with her strength and courage

Sep 21, 2015 at 2:50 p.m. ET
Image: Brian To/WENN.com

Over the weekend 77-year-old Jackie Collins died from breast cancer, People magazine reports.

Collins was loved by not only her family and friends but her millions of readers. She inspired women across the world — not only in her profession but in life.

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1. She didn't let her illness stop her from doing what she loved

Collins was diagnosed with breast cancer over six years ago but she chose to keep her diagnosis to herself and didn't let it hold her back.

"I did it my way, as Frank Sinatra would say. I've written five books since the diagnosis, I've lived my life, I've travelled all over the world, I have not turned down book tours and no one has ever known until now when I feel as though I should come out with it," she said during a recent interview with People magazine.

2. She was unapologetic about her sex life

One of the things that makes Collins such an inspiration is how honest and unashamed she was about her sexual exploits, which included a passionate fling with Marlon Brando as a teen — something which she described as "a bit of fun."

"We had a very brief but fabulous affair — he was at the height of his fame and glamour, the most beautiful man I'd ever seen," she said, according to the Daily Mail. "We went together on and off for a short while, but he was a real womaniser and had a girlfriend and I had another boyfriend, so it was just a bit of fun."

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Her youth was not the only scandalous aspect of her life as Collins first novel, The World Is Full Of Married Men, was deemed "filthy and disgusting" by romance author Barbara Cartland and was banned in South Africa and Australia, The New York Times reported. Did she let this scathing review stop her? Not for a second.

3. She was a career woman

Collins was a prolific author, writing 30-plus novels over four decades and selling more than 500 million copies, People magazine reports. She has been a regular on The New York Times bestsellers list and even released a new book, The Santangelos, in June.

4. She stayed strong even after facing devastating sadness

During her lifetime Collins lost many people close to her, including her second husband of almost three decades, Oscar Lerman; her fiancé, Frank Calcagnini; and her mother (all of whom died from cancer).

Speaking during an interview with the Press Association, she said, "I refuse to mourn people, because everybody dies. Death and taxes, you can't avoid either."

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5. She was a proud feminist

"'Feminist' always conjures up a picture of a bunch of women ripping off their bras and throwing them away, which is so ridiculous," Collins previously told HuffPost Live. "It's kind of like a cliche (sic)."

She continued, "I am a feminist in my own particular way. Of course I want equal rights for women, and I've always written about the double standard that exists between men and women, and it really pisses me off."

RIP Jackie Collins. You inspired women everywhere with your determination, unapologetic attitude and success and will be missed by many.