Betty White ‘Died Peacefully’ at Home, Agent Says
Betty White “died peacefully in her sleep at her home early this morning,” her agent and close friend Jeff Witjas tells PEOPLE.
Witjas previously confirmed to PEOPLE that the beloved comedian had died on Friday at age 99, just two and a half weeks before what would have been her centennial birthday.
“Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever,” he said in an earlier 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.”
White was gearing up to celebrate her 100th birthday on Jan. 17. Ahead of the day, in a cover story, 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.”
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.”
“We are deeply saddened by the news of Betty White’s passing,” said PEOPLE editor in chief Dan Wakeford. “We are honored that she recently chose to work with PEOPLE to celebrate her extraordinary life and career.”
“The world looks different now,” wrote Ryan Reynolds, who had fostered a loving relationship with White over the years. “She was great at defying expectation. She managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough. We’ll miss you, Betty.”
White’s Hot in Cleveland costar Valerie Bertinelli also shared her condolences on social media.
“Rest in peace, sweet Betty,” Bertinelli wrote. “My God, how bright heaven must be right now.”