Erin Moran is best known for playing Joanie in the iconic series, Happy Days, as well as the spin-off with Scott Baio, Joanie Loves Chachi. The actress, who has faced financial difficulties in the past few years, was found unresponsive in her Indiana home on Saturday. New reports surfacing are blaming her untimely death on a drug addiction.
Erin Moran starred on Happy Days for 10 years, from 1974 to 1984, beginning the series when she was just 14 years of age.
Her co-stars have taken to Twitter and other media outlets to express their grief and offer condolences to the family.
Henry Winkler, who played “The Fonz,” was one of the first to release a statement.
“I will always remember Erin with her sweet smile that greeted me on the very first day I walked onto the set of ‘Happy Days’ in 1974. She was only nine years old. For the next 10 years that smile never faded. Unfortunately yesterday it did. My condolences go out to her family. She will always be locked in my heart,” he said.
Anson Williams, who played Richie Cunningham’s friend, Potsie Weber, spoke exclusively to Radar Online about Moran.
“Erin was a person who made everyone around her feel better. I will miss her so much, but I know she is in God’s hands. RIP sweet angel,” he said.
Ron Howard, her played her brother, Richie Cunningham on the series, expressed his condolences on Twitter.
“Such sad sad news. RIP Erin. I’ll always choose to remember you on our show making scenes better, getting laughs and lighting up TV screens,” he wrote.
Don Most, who played Ralph on the beloved series, also issued a statement.
“I am so incredibly sad to hear about Erin. She was a wonderful, sweet, caring and talented woman. As I write this, I can’t really comprehend this right now. A very painful loss. It gives me some comfort to know she is with Tom, Al, Pat and Gary. Rest in peace, sweet Erin,” he said.
Friends of Erin Moran took to social media to tell the public at large that they shouldn’t jump to conclusions about her death, because the don’t actually know “anything about her.”
Erin Moran has had a rough couple of years. In 2012, the former star was homeless after being kicked out of her trailer park. After her public financial struggles, she mostly stuck to herself and was reportedly very reclusive. Reports state that the actress spent the last few years of her life hard at work on an autobiography that was never released.
The sheriff’s department in Erin Moran’s hometown released a statement saying that a call was made to 911 for an unresponsive female. She was determined to be dead upon arrival of the paramedics.
Although rumors are swirling that the cause of death may have been a heroin overdose, currently the cause of death is listed as unknown. Erin Moran will undergo an autopsy to determine the true nature of her death. The toxicology reports and reports from the final autopsy will not be finished for several weeks, however.
While Erin Moran has definitely gone too soon, she will always be remembered as the beautiful and bold younger sister of Richie Cunningham on Happy Days. Fans will look back on her character fondly, and reruns of the show will undoubtedly continue to play off and on, paying tribute to the star for many years to come.
[Featured Image by STARMAX/AP Images]