The That ‘70s Show star died at age 65 from a urinary tract infection, according to a statement from her publicist. Roberts’s domestic partner, Lance O’Brien, also confirmed the news and addressed the confusion surrounding her death — including Sunday’s premature announcement.
Roberts, born Victoria Leigh Blum, was rushed to Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve after collapsing in her home. O’Brien, who confirmed Roberts’s cause of death, told NBC News he believed his longtime love was going to be alright.
“I didn’t think this would be the last time I was going to be seeing her,” he explained Tuesday. “I didn’t think it was that serious.”
On Sunday, O’Brien said he was told by doctors to come to the hospital for an “end of life situation.” He told NBC that at the end of the visit, Roberts’s eyes rolled into the the back of her head and she passed out. He believed she died.
“I felt totally lost. I was crying and crying,” O’Brien shared. He called Roberts’s publicist, Mike Pingel, and explained what happened. “I told him I said goodbye.”
Video: Actress Tanya Roberts dies after publicist incorrectly confirmed her death (USA TODAY)
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Pingel announced Roberts’s death in a press release on Sunday. The next day, media outlets were alerted that the former Bond girl was still alive, only to be informed hours later she passed away.
O’Brien told NBC News that Roberts was in a makeshift ward out of Cedars-Sinai as the hospital is overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. After he believed he saw her die, O’Brien claimed he couldn’t find a nurse or doctor.
“Trying to get info out of these people is impossible,” he said, while insisting no staff was at fault for Sunday’s premature report.
Pingel confirmed Roberts’s passing in a statement to Yahoo Entertainment on Tuesday afternoon.
“With a heavy heart I can confirm the death of Tanya Roberts (age 65) last night on Jan. 4, 2021 around 9:30 p.m. PT at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles,” he shared. “Her 18-year domestic partner Lance O’Brien received the phone call from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center last night at their home confirming her passing. Roberts cause of death was from a urinary tract infection which spread to her kidney, gallbladder, liver and then blood stream.”
Pingel noted that Roberts was an animal rights activist and in lieu of flowers, any donations be given to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in her name.
“An online memorial for Tanya Roberts will be announced shortly,” he concluded. “The family asks for privacy as they mourn her death.”
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