Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty, Betty White, Golden Girls


TV icon Rue McClanahan sadly succumbed to a massive stroke this morning, but she leaves in her wake laughs, love and a legacy most actors can only dream of.

"Rue was a close and dear friend," sole surviving Golden Girl Betty White said in a statement today.

"I treasured our relationship. It hurts more than I ever thought it would, if that's even possible."

McClanahan's Sordid Lives costar Jason Dottley set up an official Facebook memorial page for the actress this morning "at the request of Rue McClanahan's family."

"Rest in peace my dear dear Rue :(" he tweeted.

Marc Cherry, the Desperate Housewives creator who launched his career in the Golden Girls writers room, also released a statement on McClanahan's death.

"When I worked on The Golden Girls, my favorite character to write for was Blanche Devereaux," he said. "In the hands of lesser actresses, Blanche's vanity and sexual appetite would have been off-putting. But in Rue's brilliant hands, that character became one of the most beloved in the history of TV.

"Rue's kindness, generosity and enormous talent will be sorely missed."

But they weren't the only stars paying public tribute to McClanahan.

Mandy Moore : "RIP rue mcclanahan. sending love and prayers to her loved ones….."

Marlee Matlin: "Ah beloved Blanche passes away – Rue McClanahan RIP. She was so lovely and such a spitfire. It's just Rose now."

Michael Urie: "RIP RUE."

Larry King: "Sad news to report…Golden Girls actress Rue McClahanan died this morning of a stroke. Her family and friends are in our thoughts."

Alyssa Milano: "R.I.P. 'Golden Girls' star Rue McClanahan dies at 76"

Rose McGowan: "Oh no! I'm tearing up! Rue McLanahan has died. She was my favorite Golden Girl. It's a sad, sad day. :(((("

Jay Manuel: "RIP…This makes me sad. ;-("

Alison Sweeney: "hear hear. she will be missed"

Robin Leach: "Sad news again: Golden Girl Rue McClanahan dies age 76 Emmy actress suffered a stroke. She beat 1997 breast cancer & 2009 heart surgery."

Scott Evans: "Rue McClanahan. God damn it. Gary Coleman, Dennis Hopper, Rue McClanahan. been a rough few weeks. Let's cut it out now."

Margaret Cho: "Super sad about rue…."

John Larroquette: "When Rue and I worked together she was always funny, lovely and a professional. She and her talent will be missed."

Ingrid Michaelson: "oh Rue…my golden girls are all going away. Rest in peace. my heart is heavy."

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