Valerie Harper’s daughter is sharing a touching tribute from her dad following news that her mother had lost her battle with cancer.
The beloved actress passed away on Friday after her bout with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare cancer complication that allows the disease to spread to the brain and spinal cord membranes. Harper battled for more than six years, but recently had to enter hospice care as the cancer progressed and her condition worsened.
The 80-year-old actress passed away surrounded by family on Friday, and daughter Cristina passed along a heartfelt message from her father, Tony Cacciotti.
“My beautiful caring wife of nearly 40 years has passed away at 10:06am, after years of fighting cancer,” Cristina wrote in a tweet. “She will never, ever be forgotten. Rest In Peace, mia Valeria.”
Valerie Harper’s death has brought an outpouring of condolences for the family, with many of her Hollywood friends offering memories of the four-time Emmy Award winner. Robin Roberts, who had her own battle with cancer, took to Twitter to remember the strength with which Valerie faced her disease.
“She was incredibly courageous facing cancer with her humor and grace. Thinking of her devoted family, friends, and many fans. Like Mary Tyler Moore she could turn the world on with her smile,” Roberts wrote, adding a heart and praying hands emoji.
Even when she was down she danced and showed the world that she refused to let cancer beat her. Now Rhoda is with Mary in heaven. RIP Valerie Harper. You were the epitome of strength and humor. ???????????? pic.twitter.com/CEGWl4hfhA— Marlee Matlin (@MarleeMatlin) August 30, 2019
As the New York Post’s Page Six noted, Tony Cacciotti had previously opened up about the pain he felt as his wife battled cancer. In a Facebook post shared last month, he told followers that doctors advised him to put Valerie in hospice care, but it was too hard for him to do so. Tony said that he would be by his wife’s side throughout her battle.
“For those of you who have been in this position, you will totally understand that ‘it’s hard letting go,’ ” Tony was quoted in the message shared to Valerie’s official Facebook page. “So as long as I’m able and capable, I’ll be where I belong right beside her.”
Tony Cacciotti was a constant source of support for his wife of 32 years, People magazine noted. The report noted that doctors had originally given her three months to live with the initial diagnosis, but she was able to live more than six years thanks in part to her husband’s support. Because she had already seen one miracle, Tony said he found it hard to put Valerie in hospice care as she entered what would ultimately be her final days.