Maeve Binchy, one of Ireland's most popular and best-selling novelists, has died after a short illness.
The 72-year-old author was with her husband, writer Gordon Snell, when she passed away peacefully in a hospital yesterday.
The successful writer sold more than 40 million books worldwide during her career, but was modest about her success, saying: "I was very pleased, obviously, to have outsold such great writers. But I'm not insane - I do realise that I am a popular writer who people buy to take on vacation."
Despite seeing herself as an 'escapist' rather than literary writer, Binchy was widely adored for her realistic characters and was considered a true Irish storyteller.
Several pieces of her works were adapted for also screen, including the Circle Of Friends, The Lilac Bus and Tara Road.
Born in Dalkey south Co Dublin, Binchy studied at University College Dublin before starting her career as a teacher.
She went on to become a journalist, columnist and later, women's editor, at the Irish Times before she moved to England where she became London editor with the paper.
Her popular early collections of humorous short stories were based in London and Dublin.
But Binchy's novels also touched on poignant issues such as parent-child relationships and the illusion of love.
Her first novel, Light and Penny Candle, was published in 1982 and became a best seller.
Binchy made Britain's top 10 most popular writers and the New York Times' Bestseller List.
She appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1999 and Tara Road was also chosen in Oprah's Book Club.
Irish politicians paid tribute to the author, who has been described as inspirational.
Meath East TD Regina Doherty took to social network site Twitter to pay her respects.
"Godspeed Maeve Binchy RIP lovely warm gentle lady brought much joy through all her work," said Ms Doherty.
Meanwhile, Fine Gael's Jerry Buttimer tweeted that he was "so sad" to hear of her passing.
While Binchy announced her retirement in 2000, she continued writing.
Her last novel, Minding Frankie, was published in 2010 - the same year she received a lifetime achievement award from the Irish Book Awards.
In a personal message on her website when Minding Frankie was released in the US she thanked her fans who had said they'd enjoyed it.
"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," she wrote.
Maeve Binchy memorable quotes:
Tributes pour in from Twitter:
Elif Şafak / Shafak
Caitríona Mc Bride