Erin Moran was suffering from late-stage cancer that likely led to the Happy Days star’s cause of death, police announced on Monday.
The troubled actress was found dead in her Indiana home on Saturday, leading to somewhat of a mystery about how she had died. There were initial reports that Moran had died of a drug overdose, but police revealed this week that Erin Moran actually had stage 4 cancer and most likely died of complications of the disease.
As WLKY reported, there were no signs that drugs played a role in her death.
“On Saturday the 22nd day of April, 2017, Erin Marie Moran-Fleischmann passed away at her residence located in New Salisbury Indiana. A joint investigation into Mrs. Moran’s death was conducted by the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department and the Harrison County Coroner’s Office,” the departments announced in a statement (via People). “A subsequent autopsy revealed that Mrs. Moran likely succumbed to complications of stage 4 cancer.”
“Standard toxicology tests were performed and the results are pending however no illegal narcotics were found at the residence,” the statement added.
While many of the struggles Erin Moran had faced in recent years made headlines, her fight with cancer appeared to be waged in secret. There were no indications that she had been ill, and Moran was away from the spotlight for several years after some high-profile difficulties in 2012.
"Happy Days" actress likely died of cancer. Statement from sheriff and coroner released a few minutes ago. pic.twitter.com/O2v1enMbgB
— Chris Turner (@ChrisTurnerWDRB) April 24, 2017
In that year, Moran had reportedly been kicked out of the trailer home where she lived with her husband and mother-in-law after Moran reportedly spiraled into out-of-control drinking and partying.
There were also reports that Erin Moran reportedly blew through a $65,000 settlement over merchandise revenue and that she and her husband were briefly homeless, living in a series of motels.
During this time, a witness said they spotted Moran seeming unhinged.
“We were just hanging outside at about 9 or 10 pm, and she just happened to be coming out around the corner and stopped and talked to us,” a witness told Radar Online after seeing Moran near a motel in Indiana.
“She was real goofy and silly acting. She said was heading over to the bar for a tequila shot, but actually stayed with us instead and hung out for the next three or four hours outside in the grass.”
The source added that Moran’s behavior seemed very odd.
“She seemed like she was a little off, it was hard to tell if it was just alcohol,” the witness said. “She didn’t do any drugs or talk about them in front of us. She was definitely a little kooky and acted weird, saying odd things, and even offered to give me a back rub!”
There had been widespread reports that Moran’s addiction played a role in her death, while none of the reports mentioned that she also had cancer. In remembering the former child actress, many of her former co-stars made reference to her difficult road in life, especially in recent years.
— CNN (@CNN) April 24, 2017
Actor Henry Winkler, who starred opposite Moran in Happy Days, said on Saturday that she could finally find peace.
“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,” he later told People. “She was only nine years old. For the next ten years that smile never faded. Unfortunately yesterday it did. My condolences go out to her family. She will always be locked in my heart.”
There were no further details yet about what kind of cancer Erin Moran had or how long she had been fighting the disease.
[Featured Image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]