Jackie Collins Kept Breast Cancer Diagnosis from Sister Joan Collins

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Jackie Collins died on Saturday of breast cancer, but her sister, actress Joan Collins, didn't know of her diagnosis until just days before she died.

The bestselling author was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2009, but she only shared her diagnosis with her three grown daughters. She didn't want her illness to become fodder for the tabloids, and she didn't want an outpouring of sympathy.

Jackie Collins protected sister Joan Collins from the truth about her illness "because it would have really affected her," she said in an interview just days before she died.

"I just felt like she didn't need it in her life. She's very positive and very social, but I'm not sure how strong she is, so I didn't want to burden her with it," she said.

Jackie Collins traveled to London to share the devastating news with her sister.

"[Joan] was very shocked. She had no idea," she said. "But she was great. We were emotional. My brother Bill was there too, and he's fantastic. It was a really good trip."

Joan Collins talked to People magazine in the days after Jackie Collins's death.

"She was my best friend," Joan said. "I admire how she handled this. She was a wonderful, brave and a beautiful person and I love her."

Jackie Collins had no regrets over keeping her secret about her illness. She maintained a sense of humor to the very end.

"I did it my way," she said, "as Frank Sinatra would say."

Were you a fan of Jackie Collins' novels? The bestselling author will indeed be missed by her fans.

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.