Longtime favorite and beloved actress Betty White has died at age 99, People can confirm. The former Golden Girls star died the morning of Friday, December 31, in her home nearly three weeks shy of her 100th birthday.
“Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever,” her agent and close friend Jeff Witjas tells the outlet in a statement. “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.”
The heartbreaking news comes just three days after her interview with People was published on Tuesday, December 28, in which she said she was in “good health.”
“I’m so lucky to be in such good health and feel so good at this age,” the Hot in Cleveland alum said. “It’s amazing.”
Betty also credited her mother for her cheerful and positive attitude, as she called being “a cockeyed optimist.”
“I got it from my mom, and that never changed,” she said. “I always find the positive.”
Before her death, the Mary Tyler Moore Show alum was living a simple and quiet life in her Los Angeles home, playing crossword puzzles and card games, according to People.
Betty’s former Proposal costars Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds shared positive comments about the talented actress for the interview. Sandra, 57, also hoped Betty would celebrate her 100th birthday “the same way she has celebrated every day of her life with humor, kindness and a vodka on ice.”
The Blindside actress also praised her former castmate on her natural humor. “Timing isn’t easy in comedy because you have to navigate other people’s timing,” Sandra told People. “The rest of us just remain silent and pray we’re not cut out of the scene.”
As for Ryan, 45, Betty joked in her interview that she “heard Ryan can’t get over his thing for me but Robert Redford is the one.”
Two days after the interview was published, the Deadpool actor — famous for his witty online commentary — tweeted his response to her joke. “I’m absolutely sick of the media exploiting past relationships just to drive clicks,” Ryan wrote via Twitter on Thursday, December 30. In 2019, Ryan referred to Betty as an “ex-girlfriend” in a 97th birthday tribute.
“I don’t usually post about ex-girlfriends,” the Free Guy actor wrote via Instagram at the time. “But Betty’s special. Happy Birthday to the one and only Betty White.”
Life & Style reached out to White’s rep for comment.