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March 13, 2017 01:21 PM

Chicago author Amy Krouse Rosenthal — whose essay titled “You May Want to Marry My Husband” touched millions of readers — died Monday morning, her longtime literary agent and friend, Amy Rennert, confirms to PEOPLE. She was 51.

Rosenthal was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2015. In a moving essay for the New York Times Modern Love column, Amy — a best-selling author of children’s books and a memoir, Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal shared the epic love story of her and her husband, Jason Rosenthal. In the piece, she created a poignant “dating profile” for her husband, whom she said she fell in love with in “one day.”

“Everything Amy did was life and love affirming,” Rennert says in a statement provided to PEOPLE. “She was such a bright light with a great sense of wonder. Amy loved her family. She loved words, ideas, connections.

Courtesy Rosenthal Family

“She taught us that life’s seemingly small moments are not really small at all. Amy’s final essay, written under the most difficult of circumstances — a love letter to her husband Jason — was the ultimate gift to him and also to the rest of us. She leaves behind a legacy of love and beauty and kindness.”

Courtesy Rosenthal Family

In the essay, Amy called Jason “an easy man to fall in love with” and described him as a “sharp dresser” and an “absolutely wonderful father” to their three children, Justin, 24, Miles, 22, and Paris, 19. “Did I mention that he is incredibly handsome?” she added. “I’m going to miss looking at that face of his.”

No one was more moved by the essay than her devoted husband of 26 years.

Courtesy Rosenthal Family

“I didn’t know exactly what she was composing,” Jason, 52, said in a statement released to PEOPLE. “But I was with her as she labored through this process and I can tell you that writing the story was no easy task. When I read her words for the first time, I was shocked at the beauty, slightly surprised at the incredible prose given her condition and, of course, emotionally ripped apart.

“I don’t have the same aptitude for the written word,” he said, “but if I did, I can assure you that my tale would be about the most epic love story… ours.”

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