Walters was fading away due to advanced dementia before her death.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on October 31, 2022. It has since been updated.
Barbara Walters spent her sad final days confined to her long-term apartment, in a wheelchair, and afflicted with advanced dementia. She passed away on December 30, 2022, at the age of 93. Radar Online stated quoting a source in 2022 that “Barbara is just a shadow of her herself. She often doesn’t remember what day it is, or who her famous friends and former colleagues are." Barbara didn't say much. She spent much of her time alone in her New York City apartment. The TV legend didn't make any public appearance since 2016. When she retired in 2014, Walters stated that she hoped to be remembered for "inspiring other young women to go into this business and to succeed. I've said it before, and I mean it: They are my legacy," per ABC News.
“She’s a virtual skeleton now and so fragile, and in a wheelchair.” The celebrity was conspicuously missing from all of The View's 25th-anniversary events last year. On September 25, the TV personality, who was born in Boston in 1929, turned 93 years old. Whoopi Goldberg, co-host of The View, provided a rare update on Walters, saying, "To the one and only Barbara Walters, who had a birthday yesterday, we want to say, 27 never looked so good!" Her update was accompanied by a cute, smiling picture of Walters on the screen.
Happy birthday to the one and only Barbara Walters! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/dLF2mDJ5d8— The View (@TheView) September 26, 2022
In a 2010 interview on The View, Walters revealed that she would soon have surgery to replace a faulty heart valve. "You know how I always say to you how healthy I am. ... I've never missed a day's work," she began. "Later this week, I'm going to have surgery to replace one faulty heart valve. Lots of people have done this, and I have known about this condition for a while now." The host said that the issue was found during a heart echocardiogram, which revealed that her valves were "getting tighter and smaller," as she informed the audience. She was told that barring open-heart surgery, her odds of survival in two years were 50/50. Walters was back enjoying her spot on the morning show, four months later.
Following this, the veteran ABC journalist lost her balance at a party while she was in Washington, D.C., in January 2013, to cover President Barack Obama's second inauguration. She then fell down some stairs. When departing, the 93-year-old woman fell and injured her forehead. “Out of an abundance of caution, she went to the hospital to have her cut tended to, have a full examination, and remains there for observation,” Jeffrey Schneider, senior vice president of ABC News, said at the time in a statement. “Barbara is alert (and telling everyone what to do), which we all take as a very positive sign.” The journalist missed out on the rest of the inauguration week, and several days following as well.
In 2020, Ross Mathews claimed Walters invited him to return to The View, weeks after hitting it off at their first meeting and then promptly forgot who he was. The novelist and comedian discussed the 2007 encounter with host Heather McDonald on the Juicy Scoop podcast. When he appeared as a guest on the program, the comedian told his buddy Mcdonald that Walters loved him and had personally requested him to return as co-host. Even though it had only been a few weeks since that incident, Matthews claimed that an aggravated Barbara recognized him and questioned, "Who is he, and what is he doing here?" in a production meeting prior to the live performance.
Jenny McCarthy, a former co-host of the show, agreed with Matthews in the autobiography, Ladies Who Punch, that Walters frequently forgot who she was despite their frequent collaboration.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Mike Coppola/ Staff