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Secret Crisis: Rue McClanahan Suffered ‘Debilitating Illness’ Before Sudden Death

Fatal condition ‘overshadowed her whole life,’ says medical specialist.

On June 3, 2010, Emmy Award winner Rue McClanahan died of a stroke at New York–Presbyterian Hospital. She was 76, and despite the fact that her life was riddled with ailments and health crises, her sudden death remains a mystery until this day.

Now, forensic pathologist, Dr. Michael Hunter is revealing his findings on REELZ’ new docuseries Autopsy: Rue McClanahan.

“So far I’ve discovered that Rue had undergone knee surgery which carries with it a risk of clotting, but she came out of the surgery without complications,” he says in a show teaser.

Rue McClanahan Debilitating Illness Before Death

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Though it’s not uncommon for older women to suffer strokes, the Golden Girls actress was taking a powerful medication specifically designed to prevent blood clots.

Apart from that, she seemed healthy and in good spirits in the days leading up to her unexpected demise.

“From reports, she was working hard in the months before her death and appeared to be fit and well. However, the chance of having a stroke increases with age and affects women more than men. And I can see from reports that Rue may have been even more susceptible to a stroke as a result of a debilitating illness that overshadowed her whole life,” says Hunter.

Autopsy: Rue McClanahan airs Sunday February 17 at 8 ET / PT on REELZ.

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