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Rue McClanahan dies aged 76

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Rue McClanahan passed away on Thursday morning at the age of 76. The actress’ manager told PEOPLE: “She passed away at 1 a.m. this morning. She had a massive stroke.”

The manager also added Rue was surrounded by friends and family when she died, and that “she went in peace”.

Rue reportedly suffered a stroke earlier this year, while she was still recovering from a heart operation. She had also been treated for breast cancer in 1997.

The Oklahoma-born actress, who first enjoyed success on Broadway, shot to fame as the man-hungry Blanche Devereaux on the hit 1980s TV show ‘Golden Girls’, a role she would play for seven years, from 1985 to 1992. ‘Golden Girls’, considered one of the most popular and successful TV shows of all time, is still syndicated on TV stations across the globe.

The only living ‘Golden Girls’ star is Betty White, who played Rose on the show. Bea Arthur, who played Dorothy, passed away in 2009 after battling cancer. Estelle Getty, otherwise known as Dorothy’s feisty and hilarious mother Sophia, died in 2008.

“I treasured our relationship,” Betty White told the Associated Press of Rue’s death . “It hurts more than I even thought it would, if that’s even possible.”

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