Actress Annette Funicello, best remembered for being a Mouseketeer on the original Mickey Mouse Club and for her 1960s beach movies with teen heartthrob Frankie Avalon, died on Monday due to complications from multiple sclerosis at the age of 70. Funicello's family confirmed to Extra that she had passed and was reportedly with her when they had taken her off life support in a Bakersfield, California, hospital. She had been in a coma for a number of years. "She's on her toes dancing in heaven...no more MS," Funicello's daughter, Gina Gilardi, stated. "My brothers and I were there, holding her sweet hands when she left us." Known for her perkiness, Funicello took the spotlight at the age of 12 as a Mouseketeer. As a teenager, she transitioned successfully into a singing career before becoming even more popular with a string of 1960s "Beach Party" flicks, co-starring Frankie Avalon. Although she kept her illnes secret for years, Funicello publicly came out with MS in 1992. By 2004 she was unable to walk, and five years later, she lost her ability to speak. Funicello is survived by her daughter and two sons. In 1965 she married her first husband Jack Gilardi, and the two later divorced in 1981. In 1986 she married Glen Holt, a California race horse breeder and trainer.
Annette Funicello (1942 - 2013)