Betty White’s cause of death has been revealed.
Ten days after her passing, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner issued a death certificate listing “cerebrovascular accident” as the cause of White’s death. A cerebrovascular accident, also known as a stroke, affects blood vessels and blood flow to the brain and can result in tissue damage if not caught quickly.
The death certificate revealed that White suffered a stroke six days before her death on New Year’s Eve. Sources with direct knowledge of the incident told TMZ that the comedienne was “alert and coherent” after the stroke, noting that she died peacefully in her sleep at her Brentwood home.
White, whose legal name was Betty Marion Ludden, was 99 when she died. She would have celebrated her 100th birthday on January 17th, which will see the debut of the documentary Betty White: A Celebration. Featuring tons of stars, including 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, the documentary was originally planned as a celebration of the wisecracking star’s centennial birthday. But following her death, the documentary’s original title Betty White: 100 Years Young — A Birthday Celebration was simplified.
White was born in Illinois and began her Hollywood career as a host of various game shows, including Password, Match Game, Tattletales, To Tell the Truth, The Hollywood Squares, and The $25,000 Pyramid. In 1974, she landed the role of Sue Ann Nivens on the CBS sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show. During her four-season stint on the series, White won two Emmy Awards. Fast forward to 1985, White made her debut appearance as Rose Nylund on the NBC sitcom The Golden Girls, which also earned her an Emmy Award.
“Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever,” her agent and close friend Jeff Witjas told People at the time of White’s death. “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.”
In an interview with People that was supposed to celebrate her 100th birthday, White was asked for the key to her longevity, and she jokingly replied, “I try to avoid anything green. I think it’s working.”