Golden Girls star Rue McClanahan has passed away at the age of 76 after suffering a stroke.
The actress - known for her role as sexually liberated Southern belle Blanche Devereaux - died on Thursday at 1am, her spokesperson has confirmed.
Rue had an active career on stage throughout the Sixties before turning to the hit series a decade later.
Actress Betty White - the only surviving Golden Girl - has paid tribute to her former co-star.
"Rue was a close and dear friend. I treasure our relationship. It hurts more than I ever thought it would, if that's even possible," she says.