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'Golden Girls' Star Rue McClanahan Passes Away

Jun. 3 2010, Published 5:56 a.m. ET

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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.

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OK! NEWS: BETTY WHITE HAS SOME ADVICE FOR LINDSAY LOHAN

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.

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