DUBLIN, Ireland, July 31 (UPI) -- Irish writer Maeve Binchy has died in a Dublin hospital after a short illness, her representatives said. She was 72.
Binchy was a journalist who also penned 16 novels. "The Lilac Bus" and "Echoes" were made into TV movies, and "Circle of Friends," "Tara Road" and "How About You" were adapted as feature films. She wrote four collections of short stories, the play "Deeply Regretted By" and the novella "Star Sullivan."
The Irish Times said husband Gordon Snell was with her when she died Monday night. No specific cause of death was disclosed.
Irish President Michael D. Higgins said he was "deeply saddened" to hear of Binchy's death.
"She was an outstanding novelist, short story writer and columnist, who engaged millions of people all around the world with her fluent and accessible style," Higgins said. "She was a great storyteller and we enjoyed her capacity to engage, entertain and surprise us. For others, particularly young and aspiring writers, she was not only a source of great encouragement; but also to so many, of practical assistance. In recent years she showed great courage and thankfully never lost her self-deprecating humor, honesty and remarkable integrity as an artist and human being."
Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny called Binchy "a national treasure."
"Across Ireland and the world people are mourning and celebrating Maeve Binchy. She is a huge loss wherever stories of love, hope, generosity and possibility are read and cherished," Kenny said. "Today as a nation we are thankful for and proud of the writer and the woman Maeve Binchy. I offer my deepest sympathies on behalf of the government and the Irish people to her husband Gordon Snell and extended family."
Binchy is survived by her brother, William, and sister, Joan. She was predeceased by another sister, Renee.
"I don't have any regrets about any roads I didn't take," Binchy wrote in the July 3 edition of The Irish Times. "Everything went well, and I think that's been a help because I can look back, and I do get great pleasure out of looking back. ... I've been very lucky and I have a happy old age with good family and friends still around."