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This Was Betty White's Last Word, According to a Friend

The iconic actor was still in love with her late husband.

Fans around the country and of all ages were devastated when TV icon Betty White died on Dec. 31 at the age of 99. And now, more details are surfacing about the loss. It's already been reported that the Golden Girls star died of natural causes in her sleep, and according to one of her friends and co-stars, White's final word was heard by someone who was at her side before she passed. The last thing the legend reportedly said speaks to her connection with her late husband Allen Ludden, which remained strong in the decades following his 1981 death.

White's Mama's Family co-star Vicki Lawrence spoke to Page Six and explained that Carol Burnett, who is a mutual friend, told her of White's last word. Read on to see what she had to say.

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White reportedly spoke her husband's name.

Betty White and Allen Ludden at an International Broadcasting Awards dinner tribute to Mary Tyler Moore in 1974
Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images

Lawrence told Page Six that when she heard the news that White died, she reached out to Burnett. "I texted Carol and said, 'This just sucks. I hate this. It's just horrible to see the people you love so much go away.'" The 72-year-old actor said that Burnett responded, "I know, I know. I spoke to Betty's assistant, who was with her when she passed, and she said the very last word out of her mouth was 'Allen.'"

Page Six notes that a rep for White said they were not aware of her last word.

White and Ludden were married for nearly 20 years.

Allen Ludden and Betty White following their Las Vegas wedding in 1963
Bettmann / Getty Images

White was married to Ludden, her third husband, from 1963 until his death from stomach cancer in 1981 at age 63. Ludden was an actor and TV personality, who was best known for hosting the game show Password. He and White met when she was a guest on the show.

Of White supposedly saying "Allen" before she died, Lawrence added, "How sweet is that? I said, 'That is so sweet. God, I hope that's true. For all of us, I really hope it's true, a lovely thought.'"

She believed she would see Ludden again.

Betty White, Allen Ludden, and Carol Channing
Dean Conger/Corbis via Getty Images

In a statement confirming her death, White's agent, Jeff Witjas, said that the star wasn't afraid of dying, because she believed she'd get to be with her husband again.

"Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever," Witjas said in a statement to People. "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."

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She spoke publicly about the love they shared.

Anderson Cooper interviewing Betty White in 2011
Anderson / YouTube

White talked about her late husband and their bond in many interviews over the years. In a sitdown with Oprah Winfrey in 2015, she said she regretted wasting even one year not married to Ludden. "I spent a whole year, wasted a whole year that Allen and I could have had together, saying, 'No, I wouldn't marry him. No, I won't. No, I won't leave California. No, I won't move to New York,'" she said. "I wasted a whole year we could have had together … But we made it. We finally did."

She also explained that she wasn't interested in dating anyone else after Ludden's passing in a 2011 interview with Anderson Cooper. "I had the love of my life," White said. "If you've had the best, who needs the rest."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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