Rue McClanahan, who played southern belle Blanche Devereaux on the Golden Girls, passes away this morning after suffering a major stroke, according to published reports. She was 76. UPDATE: “Rue was a close and dear friend. I treasure our relationship," Betty White tells Entertainment Tonight of Rue's passing. "It hurts more than I ever thought it would, if that’s even possible.”
Media outlets are reporting that the Oklahoma native died this morning with her family. She suffered a minor stroke earlier this year after undergoing bypass surgery.
Last year fans said good-bye to Rue's co-star Beatrice Arthur, while another beloved Golden Girls star, Estelle Getty, died in 2008. Betty White has been on a roll this year in entertainment, after a Facebook campaign to get her on Saturday Night Live culminated with her hilarious hosting gig last month.
Like a true Golden Girl, you've always been a friend to fans, Rue. Thank you.