Betty White, The Golden Girls and Hot in Cleveland Star, Dead at 99

Betty White, The Golden Girls and Hot in Cleveland Star, Dead at 99

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Betty White, TV’s perennial Golden Girl, has died. She was 99.

“Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever,” her agent and close friend Jeff Witjas told PEOPLE in a statement on Friday. “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.”

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White was gearing up to celebrate her 100th birthday on Jan. 17. Ahead of her centennial year, in January, White opened up to PEOPLE about how she was feeling about turning 100 years old.

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

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According to White, being “born a cockeyed optimist” was the key to her upbeat nature. “I got it from my mom, and that never changed,” she said. “I always find the positive.”

Of course, the iconic actress also cracked a joke about the secret to her long life, telling PEOPLE: “I try to avoid anything green. I think it’s working.”

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