11/21/2013 at 07:00 AM EST
Sylvia Celeste Browne, a celebrated psychic and New York Times
best-selling author, died Wednesday at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, Calif., her website
announced. She was 77.
"For nearly six decades," said her site, "Sylvia Browne dedicated her life to helping others as a spiritual guide through private readings, past-life regressions and prayer groups that spanned the globe."
With her strong beliefs in God and reincarnation, the Kansas City, Mo., native often assisted authorities in criminal cases and, with her son, Chris Dufrense, offered personal psychic readings from their Northern California office, according to the San Jose Mercury News
"I don't know how I do it," Browne once told Larry King on his CNN show when he asked how she foretold the future and communicated with the dead. "I've done it all my life."
Browne moved to California in 1964 and, a decade later, founded the Nirvana Foundation for Psychic Research. Citing the varying degree of accuracy of her predictions, the News
points to her appearance on Montel Williams's show a decade ago, in which she spoke about missing schoolteacher Nancy MacDuckston.
Browne said she was alive and had joined a cult. The News
says no evidence of a cult was ever uncovered.
In addition, says the paper, she had told the mother of Cleveland kidnapping victim Amanda Berry
that her daughter was dead. Amanda and two other captives were found alive last May
Her website lists Browne's survivors as her husband, Michael Ulery; sons Christopher and Paul Dufresne; three grandchildren, Angelia, Jeffrey, and William; and a sister, Sharon Bortolussi.
This past Sept. 10, Browne posted on her Facebook page
, "If you are afraid to die, you will not fully live." On Oct. 27, she wrote, "My one prayer every morning that has carried me through my life is, 'Hi God, it's me again.'
"It doesn't matter how you pray. It can be just simply talking to God. Remember, God knows your heart and soul."