Beloved television star Betty White, whose career spanned more than eight decades, died from a stroke that she suffered six days before.
“White died from a stroke … a stroke she suffered nearly a week before she passed,” TMZ reported. “Betty’s cause of death is listed as a cerebrovascular accident, according to her death certificate, which is a loss of blood flow to part of the brain, resulting in brain tissue damage.”
Sources told the publication that White was alert and coherent after she suffered the stroke and that she died peacefully.
“Beloved actress, comedian and American icon Betty White has died, just weeks before a milestone birthday,” TMZ reported at the end of December. “Law enforcement sources tell TMZ … Betty passed away at her home Friday morning.”
The eight-time Emmy winner had the longest television career of any entertainer in history with her career starting in the late 1930s. She is best known “for her scene-stealing roles in two pioneering sitcoms — as the promiscuous cooking show host Sue Ann Nivens on the ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ in the 1970s and sweet-natured simpleton Rose Nylund on ‘The Golden Girls’ in the 80s,” Page Six reported.
White was in the news this week after she gave an interview to People magazine ahead of what would have been her 100th birthday on January 17th.
“I’m so lucky to be in such good health and feel so good at this age,” White said. “It’s amazing.”
The article stated:
Nowadays, White enjoys a quiet life in Los Angeles playing crossword puzzles and card games. She also likes to watch animal documentaries, Jeopardy! and sports, particularly golf. White, who is a longtime animal welfare advocate, is also a longtime supporter of the Wildlife Learning Center, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Actors and Others for Animals.
And her golden legacy still lives on. As part of PEOPLE’s cover story, White’s famous friends share their experiences with the “very funny” actress.
White told the magazine that her exuberant personality stemmed from being “born a cockeyed optimist.”
“I got it from my mom, and that never changed,” White said. “I always find the positive.”
When asked about her diet, White joked that she tried “to avoid anything green.”
Notable responses to White’s death included:
- Joe Biden, president: “Betty White brought a smile to the lips of generations of Americans. She’s a cultural icon who will be sorely missed. Jill and I are thinking of her family and all those who loved her this New Year’s Eve.”
- Ryan Reynolds, actor: “The world looks different now. She was great at defying expectation. She managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough. We’ll miss you, Betty. Now you know the secret.”
- The U.S. Army: “We are saddened by the passing of Betty White. Not only was she an amazing actress, she also served during WWII as a member of the American Women’s Voluntary Services. A true legend on and off the screen.”
- Nancy Pelosi, House speaker: “Today, we lost a beloved TV icon. Betty White was a pioneering actress, who blessed generations of Americans with her talent and humor for 8 decades. May it be a comfort to her loved ones and many admirers that so many mourn with them during this sad time.”
- Megyn Kelly, political commentator: “I am feeling so grateful right now for the many years of enjoyment #BettyWhite brought me and my family (esp when my mom was newly widowed & we lived on Golden Girls). Rest In Peace you wonderful, beautiful, talented woman. And thank you.”
- Greg Abbott, Texas governor: “RIP #BettyWhite — America’s ‘Golden Girl’”
- Kayleigh McEnany, former WH press secretary: “Betty White was an American icon with an infectious spirit and a zest for life. Betty was such a joy to watch as “Rose” from Golden Girls. She lit up the screen and quickly became America’s sweetheart. We will miss you, Betty!”
- Comedy Central: “Betty White showed that funny was ageless.”
- Debra Messing, actress: “Betty White. Oh noooooooo. I grew up watching and being delighted by her. She was playful and daring and smart. We all knew this day would come but it doesn’t take away the feeling of loss. A national treasure, indeed. Fly with the Angels.”
- Ryan Seacrest, entertainer: “All of us in Times Square and around the world are grieving the loss of Betty White. She was a TV pioneer who paved the way for so many people. Beyond that, she showed us what you can accomplish in a lifetime through kindness and humor. Rest in peace to a true American icon.”
- Kevin Sorbo, actor: “I was lucky enough to meet Betty White many years ago. Very gracious and amazing lady. Rest In Peace.”
- Ellen DeGeneres, comedian: “What an exceptional life. I’m grateful for every second I got to spend with Betty White. Sending love to her family, friends and all of us.”
- Kirstie Alley, actress: “Wow… what a legacy what a gal what an icon.. Betty White is simply the best. What an inspiration to all humans and a god send to all animal.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.