Jeanne Cooper, who played Katherine Chancellor on the soap opera “The Young and the Restless,” has died at 84.
The ailing actress had been in hospital fighting an undisclosed illness.
Cooper joined the show six months after its 1973 debut, making her its longest cast member.
Cooper’s role as matriarch in the Chancellor family earned her numerous daytime Emmy award nominations and she won for best actress in 2008.
Cooper’s actor son Corbin Bernsen made the announcement on Twitter on Wednesday.
Mom passed this morning. She was in peace and without fear. U all have been incredible in your love. In her name share it 2 day with others.
— Corbin Bernsen (@corbinbernsen) May 8, 2013
Cooper began her career in film starring in movies such as “The Boston Strangler” with Tony Curtis and “Tony Rome” with Frank Sinatra.
Landing a recurring role on “L.A. Law,” she played the mother to her real-life son Bernsen’s character, Arnie, and received an Emmy nomination for it.
But it was The Young and the Restless that made her a star. She earned praise for her real-life storylines paralleled on the show, including alcoholism and a facelift.
It’s unclear for now how the CBS soap will address her passing. The series is currently six weeks ahead of schedule and her storyline recently involved her character successfully undergoing surgery for a brain tumor.
Actor Eric Braeden, who plays Victor Newman on the show, tweeted his condolences, as did Michael Muhney, who plays Adam.
I am deeply saddened by Jeanne’s passing! She had struggled enormously to the very end! She loved her fans, & we all loved working with her!
— Eric Braeden (@EBraeden) May 8, 2013
She lived a long life. She kicked her fair share of asses. The world just got a little less feisty today. You’ll be missed, Jeanne Cooper.
— 1.21 gigawatts (@michaelmuhney) May 8, 2013
Cooper’s son Bernsen also posted a statement on Facebook:
“Wasn’t sure how I would have to say these words so I opt for simplicity at least to begin…
My mother passed away this morning just a short time ago, peaceful with my sister by her side, in her sleep. I was going to visit this afternoon, thought I had time. Reminder to self – time is a precious thing. I too am at peace however. I said my goodbyes several times over during the last few weeks. I’ll go one last time now for a gentle kiss a final farewell for this lifetime. She has been a blaze her entire life, that beacon, that boxer I spoke of earlier. She went the full twelve rounds and by unanimous decision… won! And while her light finally gave into the wind that gives flight to all our journeys, there will always be a glimmer left behind by what she stood for. I will speak about that more in coming days, months I suppose. I will certainly dedicate what remains of my life to continue her purpose of honesty, equality, humility, empathy and love. So many of you have said your prayers for her and right now, today, I can say the best way to honor her is to inhabit your lives with those things she stood for. I would ask that closer friends respectfully give us some time to find our family’s path in this transition, and please limit calls, emails and the rest for a couple of days. As always, your outpouring of love here on this page, is not only welcomed to continue but truly appreciated and comforting. I asked my sister what time she passed exactly, and she told me (not to important for public record) but I was working out and just happened to pick out a song for my final moments on the treadmill – “Everlasting Light” by the Black Keys. Oh what a wonder it all is… what a magnificence!”
Cooper’s 30-year marriage to Harry Bernsen ended in divorce. They have three children, Corbin, Caren and Collin, and eight grandchildren.