Golden Girls Actress Rue McClanahan Dies

Golden Girls Actress Rue McClanahan Dies

America fell in love with Rue McClanahan on the Golden Girls, playing the oversexed southern widow Blanche Devereaux who lives in Miami Beach with her three best friends.

But today the nation is mourning the passing of the beloved actress. McClanahan died at 1a.m. at New York's Presbyterian hospital after suffering a massive stroke on Monday.

In a statement, McClanahan's manager said, "She dies peacefully. She died with family, friends, people close to her around her."

The 76-year-old Emmy-winner had been in poor health after she had a mini-stroke after a bypass operation last year. McClanahan was also a breast cancer survivor.

INSIDE EDITION interviewed her in 1998 when McClanahan said, "I was feeling under my arms and I felt a little lump. I was determined to survive."

We last saw McClanahan when she reunited with her Golden Girls co-stars at the 2008 TV Land awards where their show was honored.

"I think the nicest thing about this gorgeous award is that it looks just like my third husband, without his arms," joked McClanahan.

And sadly, it would be the last time the girls would make a public appearance together. Estelle Getty died just one month later. Bea Arthur died from cancer last year. Betty White is now the last surviving member of the group, and she's having a career resurgence after her recent guest shot on Saturday Night Live.

In a statement to INSIDE EDITION, White said, "Rue was a close and dear friend. I treasured our relationship. It hurts more than I ever thought it would, if that's possible."