Sandra Hyatt passed away suddenly on Sunday evening, NZST, while attending the Romance Writers of New Zealand conference. According to a post on the RWNZ's Facebook wall, the cause of death was The RWNZ also posted on Sandra's Facebook wall with funeral information. Fans of the author are also leaving condolences for her family on the wall as well.
It feels like there has been a lot of surprising passings in the romance community lately. Debbie Macomber's son passed away in early August. Beverly Barton died suddenly in April of heart failure. I also somehow missed the fact that Jennifer Rardin died on September 20, 2010 and I didn't find out until the beginning of this year.
However, I think the reason this untimely death has captured my attention because of this exchange on Twitter. Sandra's last tweet, at 2:54pm on August 17th, reads:
Off to pick up @SueGrimshaw from the airport, who's just flown forever to get to NZ.Sue tweeted at 6:39pm that same evening, including a TwitPic that showed Sue & Sandra grinning into the camera, backlit by bright New Zealand sunshine.
That picture resonated with me because, thanks to my google-fu, I get the impression that Sandra really enjoyed writing and loved the romance community. She was excited and looking forward to the conference she was about to attend. Sandra had a handful of books under belt and was presumably writing or getting ready to write more. She seemed happy. But one day she's smiling in the sunshine, three days later, she's gone.
I hope Sandra really was happy and that she leaves behind no regrets. Blessings and good wishes for her family in their time of grief, and sympathy to everyone else left behind.