Anne Rice, the author of gothic fiction whose novel Interview With the Vampire reinvented and revived the vampire genre, has died at the age of 80.
Rice died Saturday following complications from a stroke, her son, author Christopher Rice, first confirmed to Anne’s Facebook page. “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,” Christopher wrote.
“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.”
Rice’s bestselling works also spanned the genres of romantic and erotic fiction and Christian literature, but it was within gothic horror where the New Orleans-born author made her biggest impact, beginning with her 1976 debut novel Interview With the Vampire, written as Rice grieved the death of her young daughter Michelle.
The novel — the first book in what became an expansive series known as the Vampire Chronicles — wouldn’t become a cultural phenomenon until nearly two decades later, when a film based on Interview With the Vampire was released to theaters; Rice wrote the screenplay herself, with Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst among the all-star cast. The film reignited interest in the book and likely sparked the many successful vampire works that have since followed it: True Blood, the Twilight series, The Vampire Diaries, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and more.
Other novels in the Vampire Chronicles include The Vampire Lestat, The Queen of the Damned — loosely adapted into a 2002 film posthumously starring Aaliyah — and what was ultimately Rice’s final book in the series, 2018’s Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat. In 2006, Elton John and Bernie Taupin penned their first Broadway score for Lestat, based on Rice’s Vampire Chronicles; an upcoming AMC series The Vampire Chronicles is also inspired by the novels.
Rice, under the pen name Anne Rampling, also penned the 1985 erotic novel Exit to Eden, and in recent years wrote alongside her son Christopher in their “Ramses the Dead” series of novels.
Christopher Rice added that Anne would be laid to rest in a private ceremony and interred in the family mausoleum at New Orleans’ Metairie Cemetery. “Next year, a celebration of her life will take place in New Orleans,” he wrote. “This event will be open to the public and will invite the participation of her friends, readers and fans who brought her such joy and inspiration throughout her life.”