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Betty White dies at 99 on New Year’s Eve

Betty White, the legendary television and film actress, has died at the age of 99 — just weeks short of her 100th birthday.

White’s agent and close friend Jeff Witjas confirmed to People magazine that White died on Friday morning. She would have turned 100 on Jan. 17. 

“Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever,” Witjas told People in a statement.

“I will miss her terribly and so will the animal world that she loved so much. I don’t think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again.” 

In a recent interview with People, White said she felt lucky to be in good health at her age. 

“I’m so lucky to be in such good health and feel so good at this age,” White told the magazine. “It’s amazing.”

White is best known for her television roles on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Golden Girls.”

Her fame grew with younger generations in her later years as she continued to work into her 80s and 90s, hosting “Saturday Night Live” in 2010.

White, who was born in Oak Park, Ill., in 1922, started her showbiz career during the 1940s. She won five Emmy awards for her work.

Tributes have poured in for White from celebrities and U.S. leaders.

“A spirit of goodness and hope. Betty White was much beloved because of who she was, and how she embraced a life well lived. Her smile. Her sense of humor. Her basic decency,” former CBS News anchor Dan Rather said in a tweet. “Our world would be better if more followed her example. It is diminished with her passing.”

Speaking to the media on Friday, President Biden called White’s death “a shame” and described her as “a lovely lady”. 

“Who didn’t love Betty White?” first lady Jill Biden said. “We’re so sad.”

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