Suzanne Somers, the actress who starred in sitcoms like Three’s Company and Step by Step in addition to leading a health and wellness empire, has died at the age of 76.
Somers’ publicist R. Couri Hay confirmed the actress’ death Sunday in a statement to Rolling Stone, with Somers’ death coming just one day before her 77th birthday. Earlier in the year, Somers revealed that she was diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer after previously battling the disease in 2000.
“Suzanne Somers passed away peacefully at home in the early morning hours of October 15th. She survived an aggressive form of breast cancer for over 23 years,” Hay said in a statement, adding that she was surrounded by her family as they had gathered to celebrate her birthday tomorrow.
“Instead, they will celebrate her extraordinary life, and want to thank her millions of fans and followers who loved her dearly. A private family burial will take place this week, with a memorial to follow next month.”
Somers was best-known for portraying the ditzy Chrissy Snow on the Seventies sitcom Three’s Company, about two women living with a man who is pretending to be gay. The series was a hit following its premiere in 1977 and made the actress an instant sex symbol. However, Somers ultimately was dropped from the show in 1981 after five seasons following a lengthy contract dispute with producers.
A decade later, Somers was back in primetime as the matriarch on the T.G.I.F. sitcom Step by Step, which ran for seven seasons on ABC. Other notable Somers roles include her brief-but-iconic appearance as the “Blonde in the T-Bird” in American Graffiti, a tongue-in-cheek as-herself cameo in John Waters’ Serial Mom, and hours of informercials for the Thighmaster.
In July, Somers — who also authored dozens of health and wellness books (some of which were met with skepticism) — revealed that, after battling breast cancer 23 years earlier, the disease had recurred.
“As you know, I had breast cancer two decades ago, and every now and then it pops up again, and I continue to bat it down,” she wrote on Instagram at the time. “I have used the best alternative and conventional treatments to combat it. This is not new territory for me. I know how to put on my battle gear and I’m a fighter.”