Josephine Cox, one of Britain’s most popular and best-selling authors, has died at the age of 82.
Born in Blackburn during World War Two, Cox wrote more than 60 books that sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.
Cox started out as a teacher and took up writing at the relatively late age of 43. Her first published book, Her Father’s Sins, came out in 1988.
HarperCollins, her publisher since 2003, said she “passed away peacefully” on 17 July.
CEO Charlie Redmayne described her as “one of our most beloved writers” who worked “diligently and with the utmost dedication”.
Kimberley Young, executive Publisher of HarperCollins Fiction, remembered her as “an utter force of nature who inspired all around her”.
Cox, who also wrote under the name Jane Brindle, grew up poor and used to charge her school friends a penny for each story she told them.
One of her teachers recognised her talents and predicted she would go on to become a successful writer.
Yet it was only decades later when she began to write while recovering from an illness.
Her first book was accepted immediately and she went on to pen two books a year.
Her many books included such titles as The Beachcomber, The Broken Man and The Runaway Woman.
Her most recent novel, Two Sisters, was published in February and was a Top Ten Sunday Times bestseller.
“I love writing, both recreating scenes and characters from my past, together with new storylines which mingle naturally with the old,” she said.
“I could never imagine a single day without writing, and it’s been that way since as far back as I can remember.”