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Annette Funicello

Legendary Mouseketeer

Dead at 70

4/8/2013 11:55 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

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Annette Funicello -- the undisputed queen of the "Mickey Mouse Club" -- has died, according to Disney's official fan club Twitter. She was 70.

Funicello was a triple threat -- Mouseketeer, pop singer and bigscreen star. She was huge in the 60's with movies like "Beach Party," Bikini Beach," and "Beach Blanket Bingo."

According to "Extra," Annette had been hospitalized in Bakersfield due to complications from multiple sclerosis and had been in a coma. 

Funicello disclosed in 1992 that she suffered from multiple sclerosis. She lost the ability to walk in 2004, could no longer speak by 2009 and required round-the-clock care.

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Annette was bigger than Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling combined. She was the fantasy -- largely because of her breasts -- of millions of teenage boys.

Paul Anka -- who dated Annette way back in the day -- tells TMZ, "She was a lovely lady. She was a great star. It's a very very sad ending."

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Frankie Avalon -- who starred with Funicello in a bunch of those 60's beach movies -- tells us, "She was a very courageous gal that fought and fought and fought ... I'm devastated. I loved this gal." Click below to hear the interview.

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Back in 2011, Annette's house caught on fire. She managed to escape without serious injury ... but her neighbors later sued Funicello claiming the blaze caused damage to surrounding homes.

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630 COMMENTS

No Avatar
136.

Bettye    

She was an idol in my day and to me she still is,,,Rest in Peace, Annette, no more suffering, my prayers goes out to all her family and friends...She was such a classie person, not like the trash put out by Disney today. Rest In Peace

378 days ago
137.

RONNIE    

My favorite by far. May she have a good journey,and find peace .

378 days ago
138.

smcmahon    

i love annette in the mickey mouse club and her various movies she was so sweet and wholesome always a lady she will be sadly missed but there is comfort in knowing she no longer suffers and that she is in gods care now rip and god bless her my prayers go out to her family and friends esp frankie avalon who was a major friend to her

378 days ago
139.

sheila lotsberg    

I remember rushing home from school so I could see the Mickey Mouse Club. I joined the Mouse Club so I put on my ears while watching the show. M-I-C-K-E-Y

378 days ago
140.

Marybeth    

I never missed a show. I just turned 70 Thursday. I can't believe it. Guess I thought you would live forever. Always a fan

378 days ago
141.

John Funicello    

My wife & I get asked almost every day if we are related to Annette. My wife told me she would rush home from school to watch the Mickey Mouse club so she could see her idol sing and dance. JoAnn said never in her wildest dreams did she think she'd end up having the same last name as her idol. We even invited her for macaroni but never got a response. We are both sad for her family's loss and those of her millions of fan. Annette was a talented, kind, loving human being. May she rest in peace. JoAnn & John Funicello

378 days ago
142.

gliverson    

Annette was always such a class act! As well as all the Mouseketeers in general. Clean, honest, sweet, kind, never a Hollywood gossip! They couldn't ruin her.... oh, they tried, I recall them accusing her of being a drunk then they eventually found out it was MS. We miss them all, and Annette was the darling of the nation for so long. Farewell lovely lady of our youth!!!

378 days ago
143.

Candy    

I am so sad to hear this may she rest in peace and may the Lord comfort the family.

Love you my dear you will be missed

378 days ago
144.

Becca    

A beautiful person, kind and talented. RIP Annette.

378 days ago
145.

jennawillbern@aol.com    

Loved Annette....a beautiful and classy lady! Not many of those around these days....pretty but not
classy ones.......!

378 days ago
146.

Bonnie Evans    

RIP - Thoughts and prayers to family. Sat behind her every Sunday in Church lovely lady and family.

378 days ago
147.

David Delgado    


" She was the fantasy -- largely because of her breasts -- of millions of teenage boys." What idiot news reporter wrote that? I am male but I am offended by this degrading and outrageous comment about such an adoring star. At the very least, you out to be censured if not outright fired.for this remark. Rest in Peace Annette

378 days ago
148.

Hal    

What an moronic remark about why she was so admired.

378 days ago
149.

Jan    

She was a giant of her era. It was a wonderful time in our lives. Thanks Annette for the memories. RIP

378 days ago
150.

HOWARD    

Mumra has it correct. She was an excellent person. Very talented a good human being. and you guys TMZ and the others like them just keep their heads in the gutter. What a shame. Rest in peace Annette thanks for the decent fun and laughter that you gave us.

378 days ago
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