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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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629 COMMENTS

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31.

mesa58lady    

How could she escape from a fire in 2011 and be in a coma for years? Confused or stupid...

530 days ago
32.

Supr Dav     

Was she in a coma when she escaped from her house when it caught fire? Read what you're printing.

530 days ago
33.

maria    

How can she have been in a coma for years, if she just escaped a fire in 2011? Hope you are at peace now from that horrible MS.

530 days ago
34.

Steve    

"largely because of her breasts"

Seriously? That's pathetic TMZ.

530 days ago
35.

nof    

High respect and props to Harvey and the TMZ newsroom -


For the clips, the way this was handled, the class.


She deserved it - everyone's childhood sweetheart.

530 days ago
36.

Mel    

RIP Annette!! Shame on your family too for making you lay in a coma for years!!! Disgusting!!

530 days ago
37.

Mary    

Ok, TMZ's comments were very nice until they mentioned how Annette's breasts were so big. Seriously, the woman just died and you can't offer a truly sincere comment?

530 days ago
38.

Kelly    

I wonder if her family ever cleaned up the swamp she left behind in her old neighborhood after her house burned down. I felt bad for the neighbors.

530 days ago
39.

JB    

TMZ,Out of respect for Annette, could you please make an effort to correct the contradiction about the fire & the coma.

530 days ago
40.

bjorn2020    

My condolences to her family and fans. I do think however the statement that her popularity among boys, "was largely because of her breasts" was insensitive and offensive. Low class, TMZ.

530 days ago
41.

SoManyIdiots    

Any wonder why some of the comments on this site are sometimes crude and disgusting? When TMZ writers talk about a woman that just died like that.

530 days ago
42.

Dawn Herndooon    

Soo sad to hear of Annette Funicello's passing. R.I.P Sweet Angel!

530 days ago
43.

DogsRule    

SO SAD! Rest In Peace Beautiful Annette! You are out of pain now! Thoughts & Prayers are with her family!

530 days ago
44.

Lee    

I remember her so well. She was decent, clean cut and the idol of so many teens at the time. No filth from her mouth, modest clothing and family values. So different from Disney's trashy offerings today.

530 days ago
45.

The Deacon    

RIP Thank you for the many years of entertainment. BEACH BLANKET BINGO, a cult classic.

530 days ago
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