Betty White had a stroke days before passing away, death certificate shows

Betty White seen dressed in all red with red lipstick

Beloved actor Betty White died of a stroke she had suffered just days earlier, her death certificate has confirmed.

Celebrities and fans have celebrated White’s legacy with heartfelt tributes since the star died on 31 December at the age of 99, just weeks shy of her 100th birthday.

White’s death certificate, obtained by TMZ, listed the Golden Girls star’s cause of death as a cerebrovascular accident, also called a CVA or stroke.

A CVA is caused by blood clots and broken blood vessels in the brain, according to the US National Cancer Institute. This results in a loss of blood flow to part of the brain, which damages brain tissue.

White’s death certificate said the actor had a stroke just six days before her death.

A source told People that it was a “mild stroke” and that White “died peacefully in her sleep” at home.

Jeff Witjas, White’s longtime friend and agent, confirmed to the outlet that White “passed in her sleep without pain”.

“To me, this is the most important thing and brings me comfort as her dear friend,” he added.

Betty White smiles at the camera while wearing a pastel purple top

Betty White visits “Extra” at Universal Studios Hollywood on 28 May 2014 in Universal City, California. (Getty/Noel Vasquez)

Witjas also said that the comedy icon was “happy” with her life and knew that she was loved by her legions of fans.

“Betty lived a great life and she lived a life that she chose,” Witjas told People. “She was happy.

He continued: “Every time I told her, ‘Betty, you’re loved,’ she would look at me with a wry smile and say, ‘Really?’ I hope she knew. I think she did. It was something beyond love.”

Vicki Lawrence, who starred with White on the 80s sitcom Mama’s Family, also opened up about Betty White’s final word, which highlighted White’s love for her late husband.

After two previous marriages, White found love with game show host Allen Ludden, and the pair were married from 1963 until his death in 1981. The Hot in Cleveland star never remarried.

Lawrence told Page Six that she contacted her friend Carol Burnett when she heard the news of White’s passing, and she said Burnett wrote back to share details about the actor’s final moments.

“Carol wrote back and said, ‘I know, I know. I spoke to Betty’s assistant, who was with her when she passed, and she said the very last word out of her mouth was ‘Allen’,” she said.

Lawrence continued: “How sweet is that? I said ‘That is so sweet. God, I hope that’s true. For all of us, I really hope it’s true, a lovely thought’.”