Popular Kentucky author dies from the flu

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LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (WKYT) - She left a legacy in the form of words on a page and now, a well-known author is being remembered after recently dying from the flu.

On Thursday, the family of 44-year-old Teresa Phillips gathered in their Lancaster home and opened letter after letter.

“This card says ‘We are so sorry to hear of Teresa’s death, our hearts go out to you,’” a family member read.

“We got cards from New York to Virginia expressing their sympathy and that they’re going to miss her,” said Shelby Phillips, Teresa’s mother.

Each card offered condolences after the death of Phillips who was perhaps more widely known by her pen name, Sicily Yoder.

“This card says ‘I knew her as Sicily Yoder and enjoyed her Amish books.’”

We’re told Phillips frequently visited Amish communities and eventually began publishing dozens of fictional novels about the subject.

“The first book she put out was called ‘Leaving Lancaster County.’ She had a series in the making when she died,” her mother explained.

A week after coming down with the flu, Phillips died from an influenza-related illness on March 15th.

“They gave her a prescription for Tamiflu and she didn’t have the money to fill it. She never told one of us that she needed money so she couldn’t get her medicine. If we would’ve known, we could’ve helped pay.”

The estimated $70 dollar prescription was never filled.

“Do you think that medicine could've saved her life?” WKYT asked Shelby Phillips on Thursday. “No, I don’t think so. Then again, who knows,” Phillips responded.

But Phillips’ family is now trying to focus less on her sudden and unexpected death and more on the legacy she left behind.

“That’s my girl and I miss her but I’ll see her again.”

Teresa Phillips’ family is now trying to raise money to buy her a headstone.

If you would like to donate, a memorial fund has been set up in her name at Gash Memorial Chapel in Lawrenceburg.

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