Betty White Speaks on Rue McClanahan Death

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With the death of Rue McClanahan earlier today, Betty White is now the last of the Golden Girls. Losing her co-star this morning hit the octogenarian hard.

"Rue was a close and dear friend. I treasure our relationship," White said in a statement today. "It hurts more than I ever thought it would, if that's even possible."

Rue McClanahan passed away at age 76 after suffering a stroke, following the deaths of costars Bea Arthur last year at age 86 and Estelle Getty in 2008 at age 84.

Betty White, who has experienced an unexpected but wonderful career comeback of sorts lately at 88, was the eldest of the long-running NBC comedy's quartet.

Betty White, center, with the late Rue McClanahan and Bea Arthur.

Golden Girls producer and writer Marc Cherry, known to younger generations for creating Desperate Housewives, also expressed grief over McClanahan passing:

"My favorite character to write for was Blanche Devereaux. In the hands of lesser actresses Blanche's vanity and sexual appetite would have been off-putting."

"But in Rue's brilliant hands, that character became one of the most beloved in the history of TV. Rue's kindness, generosity and talent will be sorely missed."