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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

No Avatar
61.

maribeth    

This is very, VERY sad news. She was a wonderful person who suffered during her life. I am so sad. God bless Annette Funicello.

508 days ago
62.

buddy love    

American Darling, forever remembered......................

508 days ago
63.

E Joyce    

@TMZ your comment about Annette #Funicello's anatomy when speaking of her death is crude and tasteless #noclass

508 days ago
64.

Spanky    

RIP Annette. You were loved by many through the years.

508 days ago
65.

Mike    

Such a shame. I grew up watching her and Frankie.

508 days ago
66.

Parker    

Been wondering how she was.........so sad.....god bless her.......your pain and suffering is now at peace...thanks for the childhood memories!

508 days ago
67.

jay26mc    

"largely because of her breasts"- stay classy TMZ.

508 days ago
68.

LauraJ    

She was the one every girl wanted to be like when I was a teenager. She could sing, dance and she got to make movies with Frankie Avalon. RIP Annette.

508 days ago
69.

maribeth    

This is very, VERY sad news. She was a wonderful person who suffered during her life. I am so sad. God bless Annette Funicello.

508 days ago
70.

dkonen02    

Poor Annette. I'll remember her from the time I'd heard she was one of the original mousketeers (before MY time), as well as on commercials for "Skippy Peanut Butter". I hope the family she had will do well as the days go on.

508 days ago
71.

Mrugowsky    

Bummer. A real American classic is gone. F*cking terrible.

508 days ago
72.

Cricket    

Very sad news. A beautiful lady. R.I.P.

508 days ago
73.

Me    

I'd like to know the moron who wrote this article. The line: "She was the fantasy -- largely because of her breasts -- of millions of teenage boys. " was just disguisting. Even if it was true, what a stupid thing to put into the article.

508 days ago
74.

Henry Salo    

Rest in Peace, Annette. I like you in the Mickey Mouse Club and all the beach movies. You are the best. A Beautiful Lady.

508 days ago
75.

bbwlover1969    

Really?!?? She was only popular because of her breasts?!?! Shame on you TMZ. Do not compare this talented woman to the Kim K's you usually report on.

508 days ago
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