Best known for her roles on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda, Harper died on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019.
“Valerie passed this morning at 10:06am PT,” her daughter Christina Harper confirmed to RadarOnline.com.
She struggled for years with two separate cancer diagnoses, lung cancer in 2009 and then brain cancer in 2013.
“Valerie's husband was looking into hospice care at his home with Valerie,” an insider said of Tony Cacciotti, whom she married in 1987. “So she wouldn't be out of his sight.”
Her devoted spouse “has been so focused on her that he hasn’t wanted to talk to anyone. He just literally spent all his time and energy focused on her,” the source told Radar.
Harper’s health and bank account were pushed to the breaking point as she sunk $3 million into miracle cancer cures to try and stay alive, an insider revealed to Radar.
Learn more about her brave battle in Radar's gallery.
In 2009, Harper underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from her lungs. She thought she had beaten the deadly disease, and was given an all-clear by doctors.
Harper was given three months to live in January 2013 when she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. "Valerie looked like she was dying," an eyewitness at a January 10th event that year told RadarOnline.com. "She was frail and gaunt, a far cry from the vivacious woman she was just months ago.”
“For the first time since she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, Valerie looks like she’s losing her battle,” a source told Radar about seeing her in January 2013. “It’s so sad.”
Living With Hope
Harper competed on Season 17 of Dancing with the Stars with Tristan Thompson as her partner. She was voted off on October 7, 2013.
Harper beat back the disease with alternative treatments and an experimental drug. One treatment included a pill that cost $1,000 she needed to take at least 10 times a week. She spent $3 million fighting cancer since 2013, an insider told Radar.
In November 2015, she sold off all her belongings, including her Golden Globe for Rhoda and a glass paperweight from close pal Mary Tyler Moore, during a three-day estate sale. “I’m ready to go,” Harper said. “I’m not scared of death.”
Harper spent her last days with a hospice nurse and another nurse visiting two to three times a week, the insider explained about the TV star’s final moments with her husband. “He wanted to make sure she was in surroundings she is comfortable with. If she can live last days looking out over the ocean, he’d rather her do it at home, not a facility. He wanted her to see the waves, be in her kitchen, know her bedroom."
Harper lost her ability to speak and was almost at the end of her finances when she tragically passed away, with her husband taking care of her.