Cloris Leachman’s Cause Of Death Revealed

Hollywood lost a legend on Jan. 27, 2021, when Cloris Leachman died at 94. Arguably her most iconic role was playing Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which led to a spinoff show called Phyllis. But that was not the only role that would define her as she earned a staggering 22 Emmy Award nominations and a record-tying eight wins, as TMZ noted.

Perhaps more impressive than her expansive filmography was that Leachman continued to act in projects well into her golden years. The Beerfest actor took part in The Hollywood Reporter‘s Creative Until You Die series, during which she got asked whether or not she considered retirement. “F**k you,” was Leachman’s cheeky response, per Vanity Fair. Leachman earned a new generation of fans in 2008 when she appeared on Dancing With the Stars as the show’s oldest contestant at 82-years-old. In her 2009 autobiography Cloris, the accomplished star mentioned advice her mother imparted on her at a young age: “If you like it, just keep doing it.”

Sadly, Leachman’s long career has come to a close. And less than a month after the actor’s death, her cause of death has been revealed

Cloris Leachman was diagnosed with COVID-19

Cloris Leachman had an intrepid career and was part of the entertainment industry until her final days. At the time of her death, TMZ spoke to one of her sons, who said she died at peace. “She had the best life beginning to end that you could wish for someone,” he told the outlet. “She left everyone with a lot of love.”

According to a death certificate released on Feb. 18, 2021, and obtained by Entertainment Tonight, Leachman had ongoing issues with COVID-19 before her death. Although the respiratory illness was a contributing factor, she ultimately died from a stroke, described as a “cerebrovascular incident” on the death certificate. The report also noted that the famed actor got cremated, and her daughter, Dinah Englund, of Encinitas, Calif., received her remains.

Juliet Green, Leachman’s manager, released a heartfelt statement at the time of her death. “It’s been my privilege to work with Cloris Leachman, one of the most fearless actresses of our time … With a single look she had the ability to break your heart or make you laugh till the tears ran down your face,” Green said, according to People.

Cloris Leachman valued her health

Although Cloris Leachman dealt with health issues before her death in January 2021, she led a healthy life. One of her secrets? “I do not get stressed,” she told WebMD in 2009. “People get stressed by the most amazing things. Breathing is crucial. Just slow breathing.”

The star also gave up eating meat following issues with arthritis, hay fever, and asthma. “I didn’t decide it, my body told me,” Leachman told the outlet about her meat-free lifestyle. “I was reading a book on archeology and I looked up and I said out loud, ‘Oh, I guess I will not be eating meat anymore.’ I have not had another bite since, and I haven’t missed it. I have a little fish once in a while and sometimes I will have chicken or turkey. But neither hog nor cow.” Of course, she had to get creative to keep things interesting in the kitchen. “I had to think more carefully about vegetables and make them tastier,” she explained. “I read a lot and really educated myself. I use everything fresh and organic if possible, and I use a lot of garlic, lemon, and spices like white pepper.”

Six years after her interview with WebMD, Leachman was as dedicated to her health as ever, telling Parade about her exercise regimen, “Now I do Egoscue posture-corrective exercise with a trainer. It feels like it’s ‘half yoga’ to me, and it seems to help everything that hurts. I love doing it.”

Cloris Leachman didn't think much about aging

There has been a lot of discussion about Cloris Leachman’s age and how she didn’t let it affect her career, but as it turns out, those were topics she didn’t consider often. “I don’t think I’m my age,” she told NBC News in 2011. “I’m truly 6 years old.” She also made a hilarious joke about her eventual death, quipping, “They’re going to have to kill me with a lead pipe.”

In addition to Leachman’s death in January 2021, other icons such as Cicely Tyson, Hal Holbrook, and Christopher Plummer also died. “I used to have romantic visions of the afterlife but now I picture Christopher Plummer, Cloris Leachman, Cicely Tyson, and Hal Holbrook are out there somewhere, working steadily,” Keep It co-host Louis Virtel tweeted in February 2021 about the losses. 

Although Leachman’s death marks a great loss, perhaps fans can take solace in knowing she lived life to the fullest in every sense of the word.

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