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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
16.

IndyMike    

So she was in a coma for years yet was able to escape a fire??? Pretty bad writing!!!

462 days ago
17.

Areader    

My prayers go out Annette's family and friends.

462 days ago
18.

IndyMike    

This is what a real celebrity is. Someone with talent. Not these current celebs that have no talent but in news bc of crap.

462 days ago
19.

James25    

Come on, TMZ. You don't talk about a woman's breasts in her obituary. Show some class for crying out loud.

462 days ago
20.

Lou78Jr    

Rip to the Legend and Icon she is no longer suffering

462 days ago
21.

Whatever    

One of the nicest people in the biz. RIP

462 days ago
22.

fozziebear    

her and her family endured so much in the last years of her life.....her illness and then the house fire......r.i.p....peace and prayers to her family and friends

462 days ago
23.

Sue    

She was such A sweetheart !

As a Disney star, you NEVER saw her get into trouble or do drugs, she was class all the way.

I'm so sorry her last years was spent in pain and distress ! RIP America's Sweetheart

462 days ago
24.

Solaera    

Aw, man. I loved her.

462 days ago
25.

Anonymous    

This is more of a relief than anything else. She's been a prisoner inside her body for years because of MS. Now she's free. R.I.P.

462 days ago
26.

boo    

May she finally be at peace. MS is a bitch of a disease. She really gave me some great memories growing up. Her and Frankie. Man, oh, man. Condolences to her family and friends and her many fans.

462 days ago
27.

Keyser Söze    

Multiple sclerosis robbed her of years of her life - the damn disease made her a complete invalid for more than a decade . In some ways, her passing is actually a blessing - no one should live like this.

RIP, Mrs. Funicello - you truly deserves it.

462 days ago
28.

Mega Jimmy    

Finally!

462 days ago
29.

Dublin2016    

She was a fantastic lady.

462 days ago
30.

Jeff    

the lady was huge a huge star in her day, every teenage boy had a crush on her at one point in time or another. she suffered greatly in her later years battling MS, may she rest in peace

462 days ago
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