Ruth McBride Jordan, whose life story was celebrated by her son in a best-selling book, "The Color of Water," died. She was 88 and had been in failing health.

James McBride said his mother died Saturday at her home in Ewing, N.J.

His 1996 book, subtitled "A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother," catapulted his mother to international fame.

Born in Poland, Ruth grew up in Virginia and moved to New York. She married a black pastor, the Rev. Andrew McBride, and after his death, another black man, Hunter Jordan.

They had 12 children. James wrote that his mother never paid attention to the slights of those who found interracial marriage unacceptable.

Jordan is survived by six sons and five daughters. A private funeral is planned.