"She wanted people to see that she was alive and happy and really wanted an opportunity to thank people for supporting her throughout her life and career."
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 18, 2022. It has since been updated.
Betty White is considered a national treasure for good reason. The actor would have turned 100 years old on January 17, 2022, and to mark the bittersweet occasion, her assistant Kiersten shared a picture of the late icon - a photo that she says is probably one of the last photos ever taken of White. Taking to Betty's verified Facebook page on her birth anniversary, her assistant Kiersten posted a pic of the comedian wearing a bright green patterned jacket, paired with white pants, as she sat in a floral-print chair, according to E! Online.
"Hello Everyone! It’s Kiersten. Betty’s Assistant. On this special day, I wanted to share this photo of Betty. It was taken on 12/20/21. I believe it’s one of the last photos of her. She was radiant and beautiful and as happy as ever. Thanks to all of you who are doing kind things today and every day to make the world a better place."
The Golden Girls star died at her Los Angeles home at age 99 on December 31, 2021, just a little over two weeks before what would have been her 100th birthday, a milestone in itself.
White's death certificate states that she died of a cerebrovascular accident or a stroke. She suffered the stroke six days before she died.
Her assistant later told her assistant told TODAY that the day she took the photo, White was dressed up to record videos for her fans.
"It was the day we recorded some videos for her fans with regard to her birthday. She was excited to be 'glammed' up and to be able to record a message. Of course, it was about her birthday at the time," Kiersten said via text. "She wanted people to see that she was alive and happy and really wanted an opportunity to thank people for supporting her throughout her life and career. It was a truly special day. There was lots of laughing and excitement and talk about what kind of animals I was going to round up for her birthday."
As a way to honor White's life and her love for animals, fans of the late actor encouraged others to honor the actor's legacy by donating to animal welfare groups and rescue organizations — a cause near and dear to her. The actor received the National Humanitarian Medal from the American Humane organization, their highest honor, for her tireless dedication to improving the lives of animals.
“For nearly a century, Betty White has been a tireless and devoted animal welfare advocate and we are proud to have known her for 70 years — longer than any other supporter in our history,” Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane president and CEO, said in a written statement. "Betty dedicated herself to protecting and improving the quality of life for animals worldwide. She has always been a one-of-a-kind phenomenon, and we are honored to have known and worked with her during so much of her truly remarkable life."
Happy Birthday, Betty White, you are being missed dearly.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Frazer Harrison