ANNETTE FUNICELLO DEAD

Published on: April 8, 2013
Photography by: Getty Images
NationalEnquirer.com

Beloved DISNEY star ANNETTE FUNICELLO has passed at age 70.

The sad announcement came via Disneys official Twitter account. Annette passed at Mercy Southwest Hospital in Bakersfield, Calif. of complications from MS.

After first becoming the first breakout star from "The Mickey Mouse Club: in 1955 Annette appeared in other Disney series and movies like “Zorro”, “The Shaggy Dog” and “Babes in Toyland”.

Loaned out to American International Pictures she starred in a series of wild successful Beach Party teen musicals paired with romantic co-star Frankie Avalon.

Under contract to Disney, Annette was forbidden to wear a bikini – the only female in the entire series to never do so.

In the 1980s she re-teamed with Frankie in “Back to the Beach” while never staying out of the public eye as Skippy peanut butter spokesperson.

AS ENQUIRER readers are well aware Annette was stricken with multiple sclerosis in 1987 and fought a brave battle to the very end as the disease ravaged her body  --often kept alive on life support.

 Funicello was married to her first husband, Jack Gilardi, from 1965 until 1981, and had three children. In 1986, she married California harness racing horse breeder/trainer Glen Holt who was her caregiver until the end

"She was a very courageous gal that fought and fought AND fought," costar Frankie Avalon mourned.  "I'm devastated. I loved this gal."

As did we ALL.

Farewell to the most gallant Mouseketeer of them all.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory can be made to the Annette Funicello Research Fund.