"Betty lived a great life and she lived a life that she chose. She was happy."
Betty White died on December 31, 2021, at the age of 99. She was just days away from ringing in her 100th birthday, and was constantly reminded of just how much people loved her.
In conversation with PEOPLE after her death, her agent at APA and longtime friend Jeff Witjas opened up about the late star and their years-long relationship. He also mentioned how White appreciated the kindness she received from the world over.
"She knew it, but I would tell her often," Witjas says. "Even when she wasn't working, I said, 'Betty, millions of people out there are still asking for you. You're getting your fan letters, I'm getting offers for you.'"
We are saddened by the passing of Betty White.— U.S. Army (@USArmy) December 31, 2021
Not only was she an amazing actress, she also served during WWII as a member of the American Women's Voluntary Services.
A true legend on and off the screen. pic.twitter.com/1HRDYCeV7w
"I don't know if she ever embraced it, [or] really, really felt it. The extent of it. I really don't," he continues. "I would always reinforce it with her because I always felt she should know that. I never wanted her to think while she was sitting at home, that the world has passed her by. It never did."
The only consolation to come out of White's death is the fact that she lived a life with no regrets. "Betty lived a great life and she lived a life that she chose. She was happy," Witjas adds. "Every time I told her, 'Betty, you're loved,' she would look at me with a wry smile and say, 'Really?' I hope she knew. I think she did. It was something beyond love."
Witjas earlier confirmed to PEOPLE that the beloved star "died peacefully in her sleep at her home early this morning."
You know what's really great? We told Betty White that we loved her while she was still alive.— Paula Poundstone (@paulapoundstone) December 31, 2021
"Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever," he said in an earlier statement. "I will miss her terribly and so will the animal world that she loved so much. I don't think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again."
Witjas also spoke about the close and special bond he shared with the late Golden Girls star. "She was an incredible lady. Hard to put into words. We had a special relationship, far more than just a client."
"We became really good friends and we always laughed no matter what we did. She was always positive and she always saw the bright side," Witjas continues. "She promised me she would live to 100 — and she almost did."
On Betty White’s 100th birthday (Jan 17) everyone should pick a local Rescue or Animal sanctuary in your area and donate just $5.00 in Betty White's name. I HOPE THIS GOES VIRAL ❤️💔❤️💔.— Melissa G Holland (@dannysgirl1975) January 2, 2022
He then spoke about White's final days, adding that she spent most of it in her home in LA. "[She] was really simply spending each day at her home. She didn't go out. She was under a doctor's care, not for any reason, other than just being careful with COVID," he says.
Like millions of others all over the world, Witjas, too, is finding it really hard to cope with the loss of someone this special. But, he is proud of everything she's done and knows that she will not be forgotten soon. "Her work speaks for itself. Her legacy was sealed. It was sealed years ago."
Betty White's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. ❤️— peace1 💙🇺🇸 (@peace1) January 3, 2022
📸: Erinn Pierce pic.twitter.com/b5CBY3gknt
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Joe Scarnici