Hollywood is mourning the loss of television legend and Betty White, who died just weeks before her much-anticipated 100th birthday.
“Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever. I will miss her terribly and so will the animal world that she loved so much,” White’s agent Jeff Witjas said in a statement provided to TODAY.
“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,” he continued.
In a career spanning seven decades, White won multiple Emmys making fans laugh with her portrayals of ditzy widow Rose Nylund on “The Golden Girls,” sex-obsessed TV host Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and salty retiree Elka Ostrovsky on “Hot in Cleveland.”
In 2010, White made yet another notable television appearance when she became the oldest person to ever host “Saturday Night Live.” The episode earned her yet another Emmy nomination. All told, White earned an astounding 21 Emmy nominations during her career, winning the award five times.
White’s Hollywood colleagues reacted to news of her death by sharing emotional tributes on social media.
“Our national treasure, Betty White, has passed just before her 100th birthday. Our Sue Ann Nivens, our beloved Rose Nylund, has joined the heavens to delight the stars with her inimitable style, humor, and charm. A great loss to us all. We shall miss her dearly,” tweeted former “Star Trek” star George Takei.
“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,” tweeted Ryan Reynolds, who starred alongside White in the 2009 comedy “The Proposal.”
Valerie Bertinelli, who co-starred alongside White in “Hot In Cleveland, tweeted, “Rest in peace, sweet Betty. My God, how bright heaven must be right now.”
“Betty White. Oh noooooooo. I grew up watching and being delighted by her. She was playful and daring and smart,” tweeted “Will & Grace” star Debra Messing. “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.
TODAY’s own Al Roker shared that he was “just heartbroken to hear of the passing of American icon and treasure Betty White just shy of her 100th birthday. Spending time with her was a gift.”
“At 11:59pm tonight, everyone should toast to Betty White,” tweeted “Modern Family” star Jesse Ferguson.
“Y’all, with the passing of #BettyWhite we have lost one of the best humans ever!” tweeted actor and TV host LeVar Burton.
“What an exceptional life. I’m grateful for every second I got to spend with Betty White,” tweeted funny lady Ellen DeGeneres. “Sending love to her family, friends and all of us.”
Former TODAY co-anchor Katie Couric tweeted, “A sad way to end an already sad year. The beloved Betty White has died at the age of 99, just a few weeks shy of her 100th bday … We’ll miss you, Betty.”
“Tonight we will raise MANY glasses to the WONDERFUL legacy of Betty White!!!” tweeted Bravo’s Andy Cohen.
“Saddened to hear that @BettyMWhite has passed,” wrote former “Star Trek” star William Shatner. “I loved her comedic wit and endearing charm. She definitely was a sweetheart to the world and a gift to the entertainment world.”
Dictionary.com tweeted a definition of the word “golden” that featured White’s image.
“RIP Betty White, the only SNL host I ever saw get a standing ovation at the after party. A party at which she ordered a vodka and a hotdog and stayed til the bitter end,” tweeted “Late Night” host and former “Saturday Night Live” star Seth Meyers.
Oscar, Emmy and Tony winner Viola Davis wrote, “RIP Betty White! Man did I think you would live forever. You blew a huge hole in this world that will inspire generations. Rest in glorious peace….you’ve earned your wings.”
Gina Vivinetto is a writer for TODAY.com. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where she spends her free time hiking, reading and snuggling with her “Friends” box set. She and her wife, Molly, are the proud moms of two formerly stray cats, Sophie and Pierre, and a rescue dog named Gracie.
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