Desiree S. Anzalone Dead, Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz’s Great-Granddaughter Dies At Age 31 From Breast Cancer

Desiree S. Anzalone and Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
Desiree Anzalone/Keystone / Instagram/Getty Images

Desiree S. Anzalone, the great-granddaughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, died at the age of 31 after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. Her death was confirmed to People as having taken place on September 27 at Smilow Cancer Center in Connecticut.

She was the daughter of Julia Arnaz and Mario Anzalone, her maternal grandfather being Desi Arnaz, Jr.

“She was so special,” Julia told People. “All our children are special, but this little girl was something else. We were [best friends]. We are still.”


Desiree Was First Diagnosed With Cancer At Age 25

American actor Lucille Ball (1911-1989) reacts to Cuban-born actor Desi Arnaz (1917-1986) in a still from the television show, 'I Love Lucy', 1956.
  Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Desiree found out about her breast cancer after her 25th birthday on September 15, which is just ahead of breast cancer awareness month. According to Just Jared, the first diagnosis revealed that she had stage 2 cancer. Per the National Breast Cancer Foundation, this means the disease is still growing but contained to the breast. In this group, the cancer is grouped into 2A and 2B, which are distinguished by the size of the tumor and whether the cancer has affected the lymph nodes. It’s unclear which stage Desiree was in at the time.

After being diagnosed for the first time, Desiree underwent chemotherapy and a double mastectomy. The second diagnosis was three years later and revealed that her disease had progressed to stage 4 — a severe case that means it has spread to other parts of the body. In Desiree’s case, it had spread to her bones, liver, and lungs.

Her mother claimed that the coronavirus pandemic kept the two apart more than she would have liked during her final days.

“So I wasn’t able to spend as much time with her as I normally do because of the COVID since March. I mean, I saw her, but not as much; we’d hang out every day practically she was here. Plus, she lived with me for a while.”


She Liked Photography And Music

American actress Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz arrive at London Airport with their children Lucie and Desi Jr., 10th June 1959. They have just arrived from Naples for a three-day visit.
  J. Wilds / Getty Images

Desiree was artistically inclined just like her grandparents, who are best known as the original stars of I Love Lucy. Her mother told People that she was a “beautiful photographer” and enjoyed ’60s and ’70s music.

“She wrote songs. Very, very talented, smart, smart girl. She also enjoyed playing piano and playing guitar with her father,” her mother said.

Julie said that her daughter was planning to finish college but was unable to due to her cancer diagnosis.

Just one month before she died, Desiree shared a quote to Instagram from French dramatist and poet Antonin Artaud. Alongside the writing, she posted “The Broken Column” painting by Frida Kahlo. According to Desiree, the piece was an expression of the artist’s lifelong struggle with the physical pain on her spine she experienced due to a bus accident.

Desiree claimed that the quote spoke to her and her own struggles, and said it helped her feel as if someone else understood the pain had experienced from her disease over the past month — a feeling she described as a “moment of comfort.”

“When I read this quote the other day it felt like someone was whispering it to me in my ear,” she wrote.