Anne McCaffrey, author of the famous "Dragonriders of Pern" series of fantasy novels, has died at the age of 85. She was one of the first fantasy authors to focus on female heroes, and she was the first woman to win the Hugo and the Nebula award, some of the sci-fi and fantasy communities highest honors. Here's the message her son Todd posted on Facebook announcing her death:
At about 5 p.m. Monday November 21st, 2011, Anne McCaffrey passed away. Mum was getting ready to go back to the hospital because she was feeling "puny" and collapsed while she was moving into her wheelchair. Her daughter, Georgeanne Kennedy, and son-in-law, Geoffrey Kennedy were with her. She was in no pain and it was over in an instant. She first had a heart attack in late 2000 and a stroke in 2001, so we were well-prepared and knew that we were on "golden time" with Mum these past ten years and more. She leaves behind an incredible legacy of marvelous books and a huge legion of fans. She won practically every major award in available to authors of science fiction and fantasy, including both Hugo and Nebula Awards, the American Library Association's Margaret A. Edwards award for Lifetime Literary achievement in Young Adult fiction, was an inductee into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and was a SFWA Nebula Grandmaster. She was also a great cook, magnificent mother, doting grandmother, ardent quilter, knitter, bridge player, horsewoman, fencer, actress, singer, and all-around nice person. We are blessed to have known her, just as we are blessed with the knowledge that she has touched so many lives and made such huge changes in them. Mum always said, "Don't just pay back a favor — pass it on!" In light of that spirit, we ask that, instead of condolences or flowers, that commemorators make a donation to their favorite charity. We know that we haven't lost Mum — that she has truly passed on her legacy of love and honor to all those who were touched by her — and that we have only to open one of her books to find her again. Rest well, Mum, you've earned it!