BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Actress Annette Funicello, long-time Disney and “Beach Party” star, died Monday at age 70 in Bakersfield, California, according to the Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases, Inc, and the Official Disney Fan Club.
Annette Funicello, was the most popular Mouseketeer on “The Mickey Mouse Club.” She was just 13 when she became famous on Walt Disney’s television kiddie “club,” that ran from 1955 to 1959.
She told fans in 1992 about her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis; and died from complications of the disease.
In a statement, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Co. Bob Iger said Annette Funicello, “was and always will be a cherished member of the Disney family, synonymous with the word Mousketeer, and a true Disney Legend.” The statement continues: “She will forever hold a place in our hearts as one of Walt Disney’s brightest stars, delighting an entire generation of baby boomers with her jubilant personality and endless talent. Annette was well known for being as beautiful inside as she was on the outside, and she faced her physical challenges with dignity, bravery and grace. All of us at Disney join with family, friends, and fans around the world in celebrating her extraordinary life.”