Actress Patty Duke, born Anna Marie Duke, died early Tuesday morning. Family confirmed her death in a statement released via Facebook hours after the fact.
According to the message, which appears on television personality Maria Sansone’s Facebook page, Duke, 69, died peacefully. Her family said her death “quieted her pain” and took her to a better place. Duke’s family said they would celebrate the lifelong “love and compassion” she expressed in her acting and other good works. According to USA Today, her death was caused by “sepsis from a ruptured intestine.” Her representative, Mitchell Stubbs, released a statement of his own regarding her sudden passing in which he revealed that Duke died at 1:20 a.m. EDT.
“This morning, our beloved wife, mother, matriarch and the exquisite artist, humanitarian and champion for mental health, Anna PATTY DUKE Pearce, closed her eyes, quieted her pain and ascended to a beautiful place. We celebrate the infinite love and compassion she shared through her work and throughout her life,” the statement read.
Duke’s son, "Lord of the Rings" actor Sean Astin, posted one final message about his famous mother on Facebook after her passing. In a Facebook status update the 45-year-old shared a photo of himself as a child sitting in Duke’s arms. He wrote “I love you mom” before going on to share the same statement seen above.
From the Facebook page of Sean Astin, Patty Duke's son ... pic.twitter.com/tdAjfkobPW
— D.F. Oliveria (@HucksOnline) March 29, 2016
On March 1, Duke resurfaced on Twitter after a period of silence to apologize to her fans. She said that she was aware she’d “been absent,” but assured fans she was being kept abreast of their comments, well wishes and more. Duke went on to say that she was hopeful she’d be back on the social media site before long. She resurfaced once more two weeks later to celebrate her marriage to Michael Pearce. She tweeted that she was “having a very happy and quiet day” with her beau. She made no mention of struggling with pain or illness.
Hi tweethearts and FB friends. I have been absent, but not far, believe me. I love and miss you all. Hopefully back more soon and often
— Patty Duke (@pattyduke_id) March 1, 2016
30 years ago today, Mike and I married. We having a very happy and quiet day. Love and hugs to all
— Patty Duke (@pattyduke_id) March 15, 2016
Duke got her start young, landing the role of Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker” in 1962. She won an Oscar for the performance. Duke went on to star in her own sitcom, “The Patty Duke Show,” before landing other roles in well-known films including “Valley of the Dolls.” In addition to her many works on camera, Duke stayed busy in her personal life. After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the early 1980s, she became an advocate for mental health — a cause she was extremely dedicated to. Duke leaves behind three children — Sean and Mackenzie Astin and Kevin Pearce.
Her family has not yet released information about her funeral arrangements. No further details surrounding her death are available at this time.