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RIP Mary Tyler Moore, ‘Sweetheart of American Television,’ age 80

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By , People.com

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Actress Mary Tyler Moore is photographed for the Los Angeles Times on December 17, 2011 in New York City. 

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Mary Tyler Moore, who played TV’s first sexy housewife and then a single, career woman who could turn the world on with her smile and toss her hat in the air like no other, died on Wednesday. She was 80.

Her longtime rep issued a statement to PEOPLE: “Today, beloved icon, Mary Tyler Moore, passed away at the age of 80 in the company of friends and her loving husband of over 33 years, Dr. S. Robert Levine. A groundbreaking actress, producer, and passionate advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Mary will be remembered as a fearless visionary who turned the world on with her smile.”

A Type 1 diabetic, Moore had long suffered a variety of health problems, and in May 2011 underwent elective surgery to remove a benign tumor of the lining tissue of the brain. “I do have problems with my eyes, one eye in particular, and if I fall, I generally break a bone,” she told The New York Times in early 2012 from the Greenwich, Connecticut, home, she shared with Dr. Robert Levine, her husband since 1983, and their four dogs.

Moore was diagnosed with diabetes at 33, and “I thought I’d have to recline on a chaise the rest of my life,” she told PEOPLE in 2009. After that, she said, “there have been challenges, but I’ve triumphed.”

That she did, capturing America’s heart in the process.

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