TV Star Valerie Harper Dead At 80

The sitcom legend, formerly of The Mary Tyler Moore show, has died after a long battle with cancer.

Harper rose to fame in the 1970s as the wise-cracking Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

The character became so popular she was given her own spin-off show in 1974, Rhoda, which ran for five seasons and won Harper four Emmy Awards.

She returned to sitcoms in the mid-1980s with a self-titled show, Valerie, which ran for two seasons and where she played a mother raising her kids.

Photo: Getty

Harper suffered significant health issues. She was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009 and after beating that, in 2013 she revealed she had terminal brain cancer.

Her daughter Cristina Cacciotti wrote on Twitter her father, Tony, asked her to share a message revealing Harper had succumbed to her battle with cancer.

According to TMZ, doctors told Harper she had three months to live after her brain cancer diagnosis, but she responded well to treatment and even competed on Dancing With the Stars later that year.

During her career Harper guest-starred in various series and made-for-TV movies, including reuniting with Tyler Moore for the 2000 TV film, Mary And Rhoda.

READ MORE: 'Mary Tyler Moore Show' Star Georgia Engel Dies At 70

Harper was born in New York in 1939 and started her career as a dancer,  performing at Radio City Music Hall in the 1950s. She later joined a comedy troupe before becoming a TV actress.

She was a longtime activist who advocated for the Equal Rights Amendment and championed various charities.

Friends and fans paid tribute to Harper on social media.