THE Golden Girls actress Betty White has passed away aged 99.
It comes only weeks before the icon’s milestone 100th birthday.
Sources told TMZ that the star passed away of natural causes at her home on Thursday night.
Her agent Jeff Witjas she passed peacefully in a statement to Deadline.
“Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever,” Witjas said.
“I don’t think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again.”
Born in Oak Park, Illinois, on January 17, 1922, White’s career started as a radio personality in Los Angeles in the 1930s.
Her career skyrocketed with her role as Rose Nylund in the ’80s sitcom The Golden Girls.
Just days before her death, White gushed over celebrating her 100th birthday in a heartbreaking last post.
“My 100th birthday… I cannot believe it is coming up,” she wrote.
Please read our Betty White live blog for the latest updates …
US Army honors Betty
The US army’s official Twitter account honored the Golden Girls star on Friday by sharing a picture of her time in service.
“Not only was she an amazing actress, she also served during WWII as a member of the American Women’s Voluntary Services,” said the US army.
Betty holds a Guinness World Record
Aside from being an actress and a producer, Betty is also a Guinness World Record holder.
In 2013, she became the female entertainer with the longest TV career, racking up 74 years of experience.
An animal lover
Betty was a huge animal lover.
So much so that she turned down a part in the 1997 film As Good as it Gets because she objected to a scene in which a dog is thrown down a laundry chute.
You can do that kind of stuff when you’re Betty White.
Who was Betty White’s husband?
White had been married a total of three times but her last marriage was to Allen Ludden.
Ludden and White were married from 1963 to 1981 when Ludden passed away.
He was also a TV personality and actor known for his appearance on the game show Password.
White called Ludden the love of her life according to Distractify and said her first two marriages were “a mistake.”
Tributes pour in
Following news of the death of one of the nation’s most beloved figures, fans of Betty White continue posting tributes to the entertainment legend.
Journalist Dan Rather and actor Mark Ruffalo were among those mourning the Golden Girls star.
Oldest person to host SNL
Aside from having one of the longest TV careers, Betty also became the oldest person to host Saturday Night Live.
She was 88 years old at the time.
She also went on to win the Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her spot in SNL.
One of Hollywoods first female producers
In 1951, when Betty White took over Hollywood On Television, she became a producer.
Betty co-founded her own production company named after her dog, Bandy Productions.
At the time, she was considered one of the first female producers of Hollywood.
She ‘didn’t fear death’
Betty didn’t “ever fear passing,” according to a close friend, because she wanted to be reunited with her late husband, Allen Ludden.
“Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever,” her agent and close friend Jeff Witjas told PEOPLE in a statement on Friday.
“I will miss her terribly and so will the animal world that she loved so much. I don’t think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again.”
What was Betty White’s net worth?
Betty White’s career spanned eight decades as she became a pioneer in the film industry.
She was 99 years old when she died and had announced her excitement on social media as her milestone birthday approached. She would be celebrating 100 years old on January 17, 2022.
At the time of her death, White had accrued a net worth of an estimated $75million and received critical acclaim over the course of her long career.
‘Worst year ever’
After news broke the Betty White died on New Year’s Eve, fans came together to blame a ‘curse’ and bid adieu to the year.
Many shared a similar sentiment: the beloved star’s death can only be the work of a “curse.”
One Twitter user wrote: “i can’t believe betty white passed away 2 weeks before her 100th bday 2021 still cursed.”
Another echoed that thought, writing: “i knew 2021 was cursed they had to just spit in our face and take betty before we left”
A third, meanwhile, tweeted: “Betty White’s death has proved that 2021 has been a cursed year.
“Midnight, truly, cannot come soon enough.”
Betty stood for civil rights
In the 1950s, White was heavily criticized for including Arthur Duncan, a Black dancer, on The Betty White Show.
When she was told to pull him from the show, she gave a resounding “no” and gave Duncan more air time.
“All through the South there was this whole ruckus, they were going to take the show off the air if we didn’t get rid of Arthur because he was Black,” White said in a documentary.
White said her opinion was never going to change and Duncan was staying.
“Evidently through the South at that point, it was a very heavy (thing), and I said, ‘I’m sorry, but he stays … Live with it!’”
Hot dogs and vodka
The Golden Girls actress said her secret to a long life consisted of a diet of hot dogs, french fries, and a vodka martini.
In an interview with Closer Weekly in 2020, White’s friend said, “Betty loves to joke that vodka keeps her young.
“She loves the image of her sitting at home in a rocking chair, drinking a martini, and watching game shows, but she’s not really a big drinker.
“That’s not her. She’ll only take a few sips of a cocktail if the occasion calls for it.”
Betty had plans for huge birthday bash
The icon was supposed to celebrate her milestone birthday with a long list of star-studded guests.
Alongside a throwback photo of the star, Betty revealed on Instagram that she was hosting a special event for her birthday.
Text below the photo read: “Betty White invites you to her 100th Birthday celebration event.”
The famous faces that were scheduled to honor Betty included Ryan Reynolds, Tina Fey, Robert Redford, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Jay Leno, Carol Burnett, Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Kimmel, Valerie Bertinelli, James Corden, Wendy Malick, and Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Jennifer and Betty’s friendship, continued
After Jennifer Love Hewitt revealed she and Betty White shared a vodka and pizza, she added that Betty loved “to end her nights with [friends] by eating gummy bears.”
Jennifer also said that Betty would cheat at Scrabble, but the younger star would just let it happen and allow Betty to win because she was an icon.
“She’s everything you want her to be and more,” the Can’t Hardly Wait actress said. “She’s the best and I just love her to pieces.”
Jennifer Love Hewitt got ‘super drunk’ with Betty White
Jennifer Love Hewitt revealed she and Betty White once got so drunk that the Golden Girls star almost fell into a bush.
The 9-1-1 actress, 41, had been close friends with Betty since the two starred in the 2011 Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, The Lost Valentine, together.
“One of the only times that I’ve been super drunk was with Betty in public,” the actress revealed in an appearance on the Drew Barrymore Show.
She added that during the drunken outing, Betty “veered off into a bush and I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to kill the national treasure, Betty White.’”
How many Emmy Awards did Betty White have?
Over the course of a very long career, Betty White received 16 Primetime Emmy nominations and won five Primetime Emmy Awards.
She was the first female to receive an outstanding game show host Award in 1983 for her role on the daytime show, Just Men.
She is also the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 and won the Screen Actors Guild Award in 2012 for her role in the tv series Hot in Cleveland.
Is Betty White really dead?
On January 31, 2021, TMZ reported that Betty White passed away at the age of 99.
Previous hoaxes focused on the Golden Girls star, but her death just weeks away from her 100th birthday was confirmed by her agent, speaking to PEOPLE Magazine.
Joe Biden’s statement on Betty White
President Biden released a statement on Twitter mourning the loss of Betty White, weeks before the beloved actress’s 100th birthday.
“Betty White brought a smile to the lips of generations of Americans. She’s a cultural icon who will be sorely missed,” Biden wrote.
“Jill and I are thinking of her family and all those who loved her this New Year’s Eve.”
Fans begged to ‘protect Betty at all costs’
In October, fans shared ideas on how to keep Betty safe following a scare at the start of the pandemic where she began trending on Twitter.
One admirer asked that the actress be wrapped in “bubble wrap” for protection.
They tweeted: “Betty White is 99 years old and 3 months away from 100; please provide her with national security protection and wrap her safely in bubble wrap; we love her.”
Another fan posted: “When I grow up I want to be as cool and fabulous as Betty White. Happy Almost Birthday Queen!”
“Damn Betty White is beautiful inside and out.” came another gushing tweet.
Another called Betty “our national treasure” while one person said she must be “protected at all costs.”
Betty White’s ‘very special’ marriage
In a CBS interview with Katie Couric, Betty White discussed how she felt about her marriage to Allen Ludden.
The funny lady said: “When you’ve had the best, who needs the rest? It was special. It was very special.”
The late Betty continued, joking: “But that doesn’t keep you from having fun with somebody and going out and having dates. And Robert Redford never calls.”
“You go out with a couple, let’s say. And all of the sudden you see one or the other reach over and, or just, you know, something like that,” she reminisced.
“Those are the things I miss.”
Betty White on motherhood
While speaking with CBS in 2012, Betty gave details regarding her feelings on not having children.
She told CBS: “No, I’ve never regretted it. I’m so compulsive about stuff, I know if I had ever gotten pregnant, of course, that would have been my whole focus.”
She concluded: “But I didn’t choose to have children because I’m focused on my career. And I just don’t think as compulsive as I am, that I could manage both.”
Did Betty White have children?
Betty White did not have biological children of her own, though she did gain three stepchildren through her third marriage.
In 1963, the actress married her third husband, Allen Ludden, but he passed away in 1981 from cancer.
Betty has three stepchildren from her marriage to Ludden: David, Sarah, and Martha.
Betty’s final posts previewed milestone birthday
The beloved star’s final posts focused on her 100th birthday next month.
Her last tweet read: “My 100th birthday… I cannot believe it is coming up, and People Magazine is celebrating with me!”
In her final Instagram post, she relayed the same message, saying “The new issue of @people is available on newsstands nationwide tomorrow.”
Police spotted leaving Betty White’s home
Police were seen leaving Betty White’s house just hours after she died on New Year’s Eve.
Sources told TMZ that the iconic star passed away at her home on the morning of New Year’s Eve.
The source added that she didn’t have any illnesses and she was not battling any particular ailment. It is believed she died from natural causes.
It’s not clear why the police reported to the property.
US Army shares service photo of Betty White
The United States Army posted a tribute to Betty White, who was a member of the American Women’s Voluntary Services during WWII.
The post included a photo of Betty White in uniform.