Barbara Walters Trapped In Prison Of Pain!

Dementia leaves TV icon frail & fading in NYC apartment.

Barbara Walters Wearing Bright Jeweled Necklace, Earrings and Tan Sweater

Ailing recluse Barbara Walters has been spending her final days in a tragic prison of pain, sources said.

The former star of The View hasn’t been seen in public for three years — and this National ENQUIRER special report takes you inside the TV news legend’s sad, addled life!

Now 89 and suffering from advanced dementia, according to sources, the brains behind the talk show is said to rarely leave her bed and doesn’t even recognize her famous friends.

“Barbara suffers from exhaustion and fatigue, as well as anxiety and agitation,” spilled an insider.

“She’s very frail and spends a great deal of the day napping!”

Visitors are turned away from her New York digs, where sources said she is deteriorating so rapidly that ABC News is preparing her obituary and former colleagues whisper that her end is very near.

While protective pals and the star’s rep still insist she’s fine, a source close to the vaunted newswoman said, “Barbara is fading a little more every day. She’s close to the end and her team is scrambling to manage affairs just the way Barbara would want them.

PHOTOS: Barbara Walters Planning Her Own Funeral

“Sadly, her dementia has been getting worse. [Her] caretakers give her the opportunity to make everyday decisions, but more often than not she’ll stare at them blankly.”

The source added The View ladies still reach out: “On good days, Barbara can distinguish Joy Behar’s voice, but on a bad day, she might just hang up!”

The source noted that caretakers get the impression her mind “turns off, like a blank screen on a television.”

As The ENQUIRER reported recently, Barbara in her more lucid moments was still phoning in to The View to give the girls a piece of her mind as she plotted her return to TV, insiders claimed.

But all that has changed, with a rep for Barbara insisting she was NOT going public or doing any interviews — even though her former producer and close friend Bill Geddie had hoped to get her as one of the first guests on his new Tamron Hall show.

As previously reported, friends said the former TV titan has become a prisoner in her swanky pad overlooking Central Park, where she is wheelchair bound and said to be suffering from hearing loss and heart disease.

They said her dementia is so advanced that she couldn’t recognize Whoopi Goldberg, whose recent visit sent the one-time media powerhouse into a screaming fit, a spy claimed.

Meanwhile, a tipster tattled that ABC is preparing a final tribute: “They want to be ready for the day that Barbara finally signs off for good!”