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Celebrities Pay Heartfelt Tribute To Valerie Harper

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On August 30, the world lost an icon with the passing of Valerie Harper. The actress, best known for starring as Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off Rhoda in the 1970s, died after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 80.

Her daughter, Cristina Cacciotti, revealed the sad news on Twitter on behalf of Harper's husband.

"My dad has asked me to pass on this message: ‘My beautiful caring wife of nearly 40 years has passed away at 10:06 a.m., after years of fighting cancer," tweeted Cacciotti. "'She will never, ever be forgotten. Rest in Peace, mia Valeria. — Anthony.'"

Soon after the announcement, tributes from fans and friends, including many of Harper's fellow celebrities, flooded Twitter.

Ed Asner, Harper's Rhoda co-star called the Emmy winner "a beautiful woman, a wonderful actress, a great friend and with balls bigger than mine." He continued, "Her brilliance burst through and shined its light upon all of us. Goodnight beautiful. I’ll see you soon."

"Thank you brilliant Valerie- you gave us so much!! RIP Valerie Harper," actress Mia Farrow wrote on Twitter.

“Condolences to the family of Valerie Harper. Going to miss you Rhoda Morgenstern!” William Shartner also shared his grief.

Alyssa Milano, who worked with Harper on Melrose Place called the late actress "the most gracious and the kindest actor on set." She added, "She will be missed. Rest In Peace."

"Valerie Harper passed away. She was a wonderful actress and brought me so much joy. She will be missed rip," singer and actress Cyndi Lauper wrote.

"I was so sad to hear that the amazing Valerie Harper passed away,"  tweeted Topher Grace, who worked alongside Harper on That '70s Show." "'Aunt Paula' was as wonderful to work with as she was funny. My best to her family."

Dancing with the Stars co-host Tom Bergeron reminded everyone that Harper "lit up the ballroom." She appeared on season 17 of the show and was partnered with Tristan Macmanus.  

Actress Marlee Martin, who also competed on DWTS paid tribute to Harper. "Even when she was down she danced and showed the world that she refused to let cancer beat her. Now Rhoda is with Mary in heaven. RIP Valerie Harper. You were the epitome of strength and humor,"  she wrote.

It is no surprise that so many people have such fond memories of Harper. According to her friends and loved ones, she made everyone feel like family.

“She talks to everyone at the supermarket,” said Cacciotti in a 2000 interview with People. "[She] listens to their problems and tries to solve them."

Mary Tyler Moore supported the statement, adding that “it doesn’t matter if a guy is yelling out of his truck, ‘Hey, Rhoda!’ She’ll ask him his name, does he have a wife, does he have any children?”

Over the past few years, Harper had been struggling with many health issues, including lung cancer, brain cancer and leptomeningeal carcinomatosis.In 2014, she told People that while she didn't want to die, she was ready.

“I’m ready. I’m ready to go,” she said. “Maybe that’s the secret. That I’m absolutely — I don’t want to, my God, I want to live to be 102. … But I am not banking on anything, really, because we shouldn’t. We don’t know what’s around the corner. I think you just take each day and get the best out of it and do what you can and have fun.”

Harper will be missed by many. May she rest in peace.

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.