x
Breaking News
More () »

Betty White suffered a stroke days before her death, death certificate says

The legendary actress would have turned 100 on Jan. 17.

WASHINGTON — Betty White suffered a stroke just days before her death, according to her death certificate

The death certificate, first obtained by TMZ, listed the legendary actress' cause of death as cerebrovascular accident, which is a medical term for a stroke involving a loss of blood flow to part of the brain. It's caused by blood clots and broken blood vessels in the brain. 

According to the death certificate, the stroke occurred six days before her death at the age of 99. PEOPLE reported Monday that a source said "It was a mild stroke. She died peacefully in her sleep." 

White's longtime agent and friend Jeff Witjas previously confirmed her death on New Year's Eve.

She would have turned 100 on Jan. 17.

White’s two most famous roles were on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in the 1970s and “The Golden Girls” between 1985 and 1992. She continued acting into her late 90s.

Betty Marion White Ludden was born January 17, 1922 in Oak Park, Ill. She had no siblings.

White's television career started in 1939, three months after graduating high school. She and a former classmate sang songs on a Los Angeles TV channel.

Credit: AP
FILE - Actress Betty White poses for a portrait in Los Angeles on June 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

In 1949, White co-hosted "Hollywood on Television" on KLAC-TV in Los Angeles. The show was very simple: White and her co-host would ad-lib on camera for 5 1/2 hours a day, six days a week.

"Whatever happened, you had to handle it. There was never any rehearsal or script or anything," White told NPR in 2014. "Whoever came in that door was on, and you were interviewing them."

Eventually, White hosted the show solo for a short time. It’s believed that made her television's first solo female talk show host.

White went on to have her own series, "Life with Elizabeth" from 1953-1955. She also appeared in the short-lived series "Date with the Angels" in the late 1950s. From there, she racked up a number of guest appearances on various shows and TV movies.

Then came the role that helped her really take off. On the “Mary Tyler Moore Show,” White played Sue Ann Nivens, the sharp-witted, man-chasing co-worker of Mary Richards (played by Moore) in a Minneapolis TV station newsroom.

After the show ended, there would be the short-lived “Betty White Show” and another series of guest turns on various programs over the next 18 years until her next big role – that of the sweet but naïve Rose Nylund on “The Golden Girls.” It was a stark contrast from the character she played “Mary Tyler Moore.”

The role of Rose was supposed to initially go to Rue McClanahan while White was cast as Blanche Devereaux – a character similar to the one she played as Nivens. But the show’s director, Jay Sandrich, asked them to read each other’s parts. Both actresses welcomed the change.