It's only been nine days since Jackie Collins passed away of breast cancer, and understandably, the grief is still very fresh for her sister, actress Joan Collins.
The former Dynasty star recently penned a moving essay to her late younger sister, one of the world's best-selling authors, in which she recalls their close relationship and how she is attempting to deal with her death.
"I've never had a better girlfriend than Jackie, with whom I shared so much in common and could enjoy talking and gossiping away about everything when we were together, going to our favorite restaurants or to the movies or on long distance phone calls," Joan writes. "Jackie really enjoyed her life so much and lived it to the hilt, and when we were together, even if we hadn’t seen each other for a few months, we were thick as thieves."
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"I don't think I will ever recover from the sadness of losing my beautiful baby sister," she adds bluntly. "Someone once said, 'The reality is that you don’t ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one, you learn to live with it.' I think Jackie would have liked us to do more than that. As she requested, I will not mourn her death, but rather celebrate her life. She will live on in the wonderful memories I have of her from our childhood and particularly from the last fifteen years, during which we were closer than ever. ... She wasn’t just a star -- to me she was an entire galaxy."
Joan, 82, also sheds more light on how Jackie kept her cancer diagnosis a secret from her for over five years, until it escalated to stage four breast cancer. Joan says Jackie told her the shocking news over the phone, and before that, joked that she was on a diet when Joan asked about her weight loss.
"That was typical of my sister," Joan recalls of the decision. "She always put other people, particularly family, ahead of herself."
The British star describes her sister as a pop culture fanatic, and now celebrates "the pleasure she gave ... to so many people."
"In her inimitable way she had more concern for others than for herself to the end, and anyone who knew Jackie well will tell you how courageous and selfless she was," Joan writes. "This, of course, was one of the reasons for her great success in both her personal and professional life and why she was loved and admired by so many. I therefore choose to remember her as the strong, independent, loyal, caring, maternal, fun-loving, witty, joyful woman she was."
Jackie passed away at 77 years old. She is survived by her three daughters, Tracy, Tiffany, and Rory.
ET caught up with Food Network host Sandra Lee at the Emmys earlier this month, who said she was "devastated" over Jackie's death. The news is especially personal to Lee, given that she underwent a double mastectomy in May to treat her own breast cancer.
"She lived her life so beautifully and we should all honor her," Lee said. "She was a private person and I admire her so much."
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