11:59 01 August 2012
Bestselling Irish novelist Maeve Binchy has died in hospital following a short illness.
The 72-year-old author died peacefully on Monday with her husband, children's writer Gordon Snell, by her side.
Binchy was one of Ireland's most respected novelists, having penned 16 novels and selling upwards of 40 million books worldwide during her career.
Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny led the tributes: "Across Ireland and the world people are mourning and celebrating Maeve Binchy.
"She is a huge loss wherever stories of love, hope, generosity and possibility are read and cherished.
"Today, as a nation, we are thankful for and proud of the writer and the woman Maeve Binchy."
Oscar-winning actress Brenda Fricker was also upset by the loss. Fricker had starred in numerous screen adaptations of her work. She said: "She was charming, intelligent, warm, generous in her time, with her effort, with her work.
"I just had the greatest of respect for her because she suffered badly from arthritis, and she had a lot of pain, and she never complained, you know."
Screen adaptations included 'Circle Of Friends' and 'Tara Road'.
Binchy was born in Dalkey, Co Dublin. She went to University College Dublin with the aim of becoming a teacher. A stint at journalism for the Irish Times opened up the possibilities of professional writing. She moved to England to become an editor in London where she met her husband.
Her first novel, 'Light A Penny Candle', became a best-seller upon its 1982 publication not only in Ireland; she entered the top 10 in Britain and also on the presigious New York Times best-seller list.
Binchy announced her retirement in 2000, but she wasn't quite done with the medium. Her last novel, 'Minding Frankie', was published in 2010. She received a lifetime achievement award from the Irish Book Awards the same year.
At the time, a message appeared on her website thanking fans and warning that her health was failing: "My health isn't so good these days and I can't travel around to meet people the way I used to. But I'm always delighted to hear from readers, even if it takes me a while to reply."
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