SAN JOSE -- Sylvia Celeste Browne, a well-known psychic and author, died Wednesday at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose at the age of 77, according to an announcement on her website.

Browne often assisted in missing persons cases, regularly appeared on television and was a frequent guest on "The Montel Williams Show." She and her son, Chris Dufrense, offered personal psychic readings from their office in Campbell.

Browne was born in 1936 in Kansas City, Missouri, where "her spiritual psychic ability began to manifest at the age of three," according to an obituary posted on Browne's website and Facebook page. "For many years she shared her gift with friends and family, gaining a reputation for accuracy with her trademark down-to-earth approach and sense of humor."

sylvia browne
Sylvia Browne, psychic and author, died at the age of 77 at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, Wednesday, Nov. 20. (File photo)

Browne moved to California in 1964. A decade later, she founded The Nirvana Foundation for Psychic Research. Browne was a strong believer in reincarnation and wrote several books that appeared on The New York Times Bestsellers List, including "Life on the Other Side," which was written with Lindsay Harrison.

In 2003, Browne appeared on "Montel" and spoke about Nancy MacDuckston, a Belmont teacher who has been missing since Aug. 11, 2003. Browne said that MacDuckston was alive and had joined a cult. There's no evidence that a cult was involved in her disappearance.

Browne also came under criticism for telling the mother of Ohio kidnapping victim Amanda Berry that her daughter was dead. Berry and two other women were found alive in May after being held captive for years by the same man.


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Browne is survived by her husband, Michael Ulery, sons Christopher and Paul Dufresne, three grandchildren, Angelia, Jeffrey, and William; and her sister Sharon Bortolussi, according to her website. A private memorial service is to be scheduled.

Contact Dana Hull at 408-920-2706. Follow her at Twitter.com/danahull.