Rue McClanahan, best known for her Emmy-winning role turn as Blanche Devereaux on The Golden Girls, passed away Thursday morning after suffering a massive stroke. She was 76.
The actress rose to fame starring on shows including Maude and Mama's Family.
A champion of gay rights, McClanahan and her Golden Girls castmates Betty White, Bea Arthur, and Estelle Getty frequently appeared at benefits for gay causes. In 2008, McClanahan starred in the first season of Sordid Lives for the gay network Logo.
McClanahan had a stroke earlier this year while recovering from bypass surgery, according toPeople magazine.Her manager, Barbara Lawrence, said at the time of her death, "she had her family with her. She went in peace."
White released the following statement after learning of McClanahan's passing: "Rue was a close and dear friend. I treasured our relationship. It hurts more than I even thought it would, if that's even possible."
Of the four Golden Girls, McClanahan is the third to die in two years, following Estelle Getty in 2008 and Bea Arthur in 2009.