Penny Marshall’s Official Cause of Death Revealed as Heart Failure

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
December 31, 2018Entertainment

Penny Marshall’s official cause of death was listed as heart failure by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.

The death certificate also lists cardiovascular disease and diabetes as contributing factors to the death of Marshall, a famed actress, reported TMZ.

Marshall died at age 75 on Dec. 17.

The actress had been battling health issues for the past decade. In 2009, she was diagnosed with lung cancer that spread to her brain.

Heart failure means that the heart isn’t pumping as well as it should be, according to the American Heart Association.

“Your body depends on the heart’s pumping action to deliver oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the body’s cells. When the cells are nourished properly, the body can function normally. With heart failure, the weakened heart can’t supply the cells with enough blood. This results in fatigue and shortness of breath and some people have coughing. Everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs or carrying groceries can become very difficult,” the association stated.

“Heart failure is a serious condition, and usually there’s no cure. But many people with heart failure lead a full, enjoyable life when the condition is managed with heart failure medications and healthy lifestyle changes. It’s also helpful to have the support of family and friends who understand your condition.”

NTD Photo
Publicity photo of Cindy Williams (L) and Penny Marshall from the television show “Laverne and Shirley.” (CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Mourned by Friends, Family

Marshall was mourned by friends and family following her death.

Marshall’s family told TMZ in a statement: “Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall. Penny was a tomboy who loved sports, doing puzzles of any kind, drinking milk and Pepsi together, and being with her family.”

Marshall was best known for her role as Laverne DeFazio in the 1970s and 1980s, opposite Cindy Williams’s Shirley Feeney. She later went on to direct “A League of Their Own” with Tom Hanks and Geena Davis, “Big” with Tom Hanks, and “Renaissance Man” with Danny DeVito.

Cindy Williams said that Marshall’s death was a big loss.

“What an extraordinary loss. My good friend, Penny Marshall is gone—one in a million,” she told the “Today” show. “Utterly unique, a truly great talent. And, oh what fun we had! Can’t describe how I’ll miss her.”

The two had a falling out of sorts back in the 1970s. According to “Today,” Williams told TV Guide in 1977 that Laverne’s character was getting the attention on the show. Williams left the show before it’s run ended in 1982. She had gotten pregnant and was slated to sign her next contract when she learned she would have to return to work exactly on her due date.

“I thought I was going to come back and they’d hide (my baby bump) behind benches, couches, pillows, and that wasn’t it,” she said in 2015. “And I said, ‘You know, I can’t sign this,’” she continued. “And it went back and forth and back and forth and it just never got worked out.”

The show ended the following year, but the two became friends. “We see each other all the time. We watch TV together. She likes to watch television in the Arctic, so she actually has jackets in her room,” she told Entertainment Tonight.

Tom Hanks was among the other people publicly mourning Marshall’s death. On Twitter, he wrote: “Goodbye, Penny. Man, did we laugh a lot! Wish we still could. Love you. Hanx.”

Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this report.

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