The blonde actor-turned-business mogul died on Sunday, a day before her 77
birthday, her publicist R. Couri Hay confirmed to several media outlets.
Hay said the cause was cancer, which Somers had battled for two decades.
"Suzanne was surrounded by her loving husband Alan, her son Bruce, and her immediate family," Hay said in a statement,
reports. "Her family was gathered to celebrate her 77th birthday on October 16th. Instead, they will celebrate her extraordinary life, and want to thank her millions of fans and followers who loved her dearly."
Somers was probably most remembered as Chrissy Snow, a secretary on the ABC hit comedy
. The show, which also starred Joyce DeWitt and John Ritter, featured Somers and DeWitt’s character Janet Wood, renting a room out to Ritter Jack Tripper. In order to get away with the straight Jack staying with two women, they pretend Jack is gay.
The show was groundbreaking in its discussions of queer lives and actual queer characters.
Though she played a “dumb blonde” Somers often highlighted the work that had to go into creating the hilariously ditzy Chrissy.
"Creating her was actually intellectual. How do I make her likable and loveable ... dumb blondes are annoying. I gave her a moral code. I imagined it was the childhood I would've liked to have had,"
Sommers told CBS
ABC eventually fired her after the fifth season, which Sommers said was due to her asking for equal pay to her male co-star.
“I got fired from Three's Company for having the audacity to ask to be paid commensurate with men. They were making 10 to 15 times more and John [Ritter] was making much more than me. They had designated John the star, as my star rose and started competing with John's star, it made them mad at me. It made them mad when I was on every magazine cover and John wasn't. We were all on the cover of Newsweek. That was a fiasco that day. The producers didn't tell any of us that Newsweek wanted to feature just Chrissy and nobody told me either," she said to the network.
Sommers became a business mogul in the 1980s, centering her career around health — which at times did put her at odds with leading medical experts. Her appearances in commercials as a spokesperson for the ThighMaster made it one of the most recognized products in the 1990s.
She wrote almost 30 books on health — some of which became best sellers.
Back in July, Sommers took to Instagram to explain that her cancer had returned but also noted that it wasn’t the first time it had come back.
"As you know, I had breast cancer two decades ago, and every now and then it pops up again, and I continue to bat it down," Somers said. "I have used the best alternative and conventional treatments to combat it. This is not new territory for me. I know how to put on my battle gear and I'm a fighter."
Somers was an
+ ally and close friend to out legendary singer
. The two often spoke fondly of each other in interviews, having been friends for more than three decades.
“Suzanne and I were friends for decades. She was the sister I never had and my close confidant forever," Manilow, 80, said of Somers after her death, according to
. "We shared triumphs and heartaches. Her fame in so many fields overshadowed her real talent as one of our greatest comedic actors, a loving mother, an amazing homemaker, and one of the world’s best cooks. I will miss her dearly and hope that she is now out of pain and at peace.”
Hay told NPR that a private burial will be organized this week and a memorial held next month.