09:56 04 June 2010
Rue McClanahan, one of the stars of the iconic TV show 'The Golden Girls', has died.
Her manager announced that the award-winning performer passed away following a stroke at the age of 76.
McClanahan played feisty Southern belle Blanche in the popular series which centred around four older women sharing one home in Miami.
The actress underwent heart bypass surgery last year. Co-stars Estelle Getty and Beatrice Arthur also died in 2008 and 2009, making Betty White the only surviving major cast member.
White, 88, recently hosted 'Saturday Night Live' following a Facebook campaign, resulting in critical praise and boosted ratings. Fans are also lobbying for her to present next year's Oscars.
White stated: "I treasured our relationship. It hurts more than I ever thought it would, if that's even possible."
McClanahan built up a promising and varied stage career before getting the part of Blanche Devereaux in 1985 when 'The Golden Girls' started.
Previously, the actress, who won an Emmy for her work in 1987, said of her seductive character: "She is in love with life and loves men.
"I think she has an attitude towards women that's competitive. I think basically she's insecure."
McClanahan was born in Oklahoma. She married six times and wrote a memoir in 2007 entitled 'My First Five Husbands... And The Ones Who Got Away'.
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