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Tragic Ending: Inside Valerie Harper’s Sad Last Years With Cancer Struggle

‘Mary Tyler Moore’ Star Valerie Harpers Cancer Struggle Before Death
Source: Shutterstock

Aug. 31 2019, Updated 12:14 a.m. ET

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Tragic ending.

Hollywood television star Valerie Harper spent the last years of her life struggling with cancer, hidden away from the world that fell in love with her decades ago.

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.

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“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.

First Diagnosis

‘Mary Tyler Moore’ Star Valerie Harpers Cancer Struggle Before Death
Source: Shutterstock

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.

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Sad History

‘Mary Tyler Moore’ Star Valerie Harpers Cancer Struggle Before Death
Source: INSTAR Images

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.”

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Cancer Struggle

‘Mary Tyler Moore’ Star Valerie Harpers Cancer Struggle Before Death
Source: Shutterstock

“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.”

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Living With Hope

‘Mary Tyler Moore’ Star Valerie Harpers Cancer Struggle Before Death
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Harper competed on Season 17 of Dancing with the Stars with Tristan Thompson as her partner. She was voted off on October 7, 2013.

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Medical Horror

‘Mary Tyler Moore’ Star Valerie Harpers Cancer Struggle Before Death
Source: INSTAR Images

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.

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Dying Words

‘Mary Tyler Moore’ Star Valerie Harpers Cancer Struggle Before Death
Source: INSTAR Images

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.”

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True Love

‘Mary Tyler Moore’ Star Valerie Harpers Cancer Struggle Before Death
Source: INSTAR Images

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."

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The End

‘Mary Tyler Moore’ Star Valerie Harpers Cancer Struggle Before Death
Source: INSTAR Images

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.

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