According to Locus Online, she suffered a massive stroke at her home in Ireland.
She had written over 100 books during her career, with the Pern novels arguably being her most notable series.
It was those dragons that I fell in love with in junior high school. I remember the first time I saw one of her dragons -- in the checkout line at a grocery store, bored beyond measure and looking for something to amuse myself since my mother had already stated she wasn't buying any baseball cards for me that trip.
There was a rack of paperback books at the end of the checkout aisle, and the magnificent Michael Whelan artwork on the cover of "The White Dragon" caught my attention and instantly mesmerized me. I remember how stunning the rich blue of the Pern skies combined with the brilliant white of the dragon I would come to know as Ruth, and I can't remember ever pulling a book out of a grocery store rack so gently before. I do remember removing the second copy and placing the first copy back on the rack, because the cover of that second copy was ever so slightly less scuffed, then reverently presenting it to my mother and asking if she'd buy it for me.
Her being a teacher, she immediately agreed, and casually asked me to place it on the conveyor, but the thought of the frozen vegetables falling over onto my precious new book and getting it damp was unconscionable to me. It never left my hands until we got back home.
It wasn't long before I realized that I was stepping into the middle of a story, and I forced myself to put the book down until I could get copies of "Dragonflight" and "Dragonquest" for myself.
From then on, Pern was a place I'd always want to travel to, Michael Whelan's art would never cease to amaze, and dragons would forever hold a special place in my heart.
Rest easy, Weyrlady.
Dragon Page interviews:
Cover to Cover #270 : Anne McCaffrey / David Anthony Durham
Cover to Cover #251: Todd McCaffrey
Link: Anne McCaffrey's Books