Valerie Harper, actress on ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ dies days after 80th birthday

US & World

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – FEBRUARY 02: Actress Valerie Harper arrives to AARP The Magazine’s 14th Annual Movies For Grownups Awards Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 2, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

CALIFORNIA (WTNH) — Actress Valerie Harper died Friday at the age of 80.

Her family told ABC News that she died early Friday morning. The cause was not immediately disclosed.

Her death came one week after she celebrated her 80th birthday.

She was best known for her role as Rhoda Morgenstern on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Her character got her own spin-off sitcom, “Rhoda,” in the late 1970s.

Harper had been battling cancer for years. She was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009 and in 2013, she was given three months to live.

But she defied the odds for years, even going on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2014.

In July, her husband, Tony Cacciotti, said he didn’t want to put her into hospice care.

Cacciotti posted a note on Facebook saying: “I have been told by doctors to put val in hospice care and I can’t because of our 40 years of shared commitment to each other. And I won’t because of the amazing good deeds she has graced us with while she’s been here on Earth.”

Harper won Emmys and a Golden Globe for her work “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Rhoda.”

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