Yesterday, we reported on the death of Erin Moran, the actress best known for her work on Happy Days and the short-lived spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi.
Moran was just 56 years old.
Sadly, Moran’s final years were characterized by substance abuse, poverty, and a slow, alcohol-fueled descent into mental illness.
To fall it a fall from grace would be a sad understatement, as she went from the top of the entertainment world to borderline destitute.
Moran and husband Steve Fleischmann lost their SoCal home to foreclosure in 2012, and the couple had been bouncing around the Midwest ever since.
At the time of her death, Moran was living in Corydon, Indiana, having been kicked out of the trailer park home belonging to Fleischmann’s mother.
She was banned because of what sources described as “constant partying,” and we wish we could say that behavior stopped afterward.
Now, it’s believed that Moran’s lifestyle resulted in her early demise.
What was Erin Moran’s cause of death over the weekend?
Though toxicology reports are pending, those who knew her best say there’s little doubt that the actress substance abuse played a role.
While it may be several weeks before autopsy results are reported, officials believe Moran drank and drugged herself into an early grave.
Law enforcement officials in Corydon have left open the possibility of an overdose, and for a multitude of reasons, it’s not difficult to see why.
The trailer park that she was living in at the time of her death was known to be plagued by opioid abuse, according to reports.
However, those closest to Moran do not believe she OD’d.
Rather, sources say it appears that Erin’s death at a relatively young age was a result of the cumulative effects of decades of hard living.
Insiders say that because Moran’s drug of choice was alcohol, they suspect that it was undiagnosed heart or liver disease that claimed her life.
One source tells celebrity gossip site Radar Online about the brushes with the law and state of semi-homelessness that defined Moran.
Or, at least defined her tragic final days.
The insider says that ever since she was evicted from the trailer belonging to Fleischmann’s mother, Moran’s life had spiraled out of control:
“Erin was a huge help at first, but then Steve’s mom got fed up with Erin’s nonstop partying and told her to hit the road,” the source tells Radar.
“It was a little hard to tell if it was just alcohol,” the insider adds, detailing what can best be described as a strange final encounter with Moran:
“She didn’t do any drugs or talk about them in front of us. She was definitely a little kooky and acted weird, saying odd things.”
“[She] even offered to give me a back rub.”
We’ll have further updates on the sitcom star’s cause of death as more information becomes available in the coming days and weeks.
Whatever specifically led to her sad end, many of her famous former colleagues mourned Moran on social media in the hours afterward.
UPDATE: Moran had been secretly battling Stage 4 cancer, with a GI tube inserted in her throat to keep her alive, a new report indicates.
The source providing this detail asked to remain anonymous pending further details to be released by the Sheriff’s Department officials.
However, the insider said that during the examination, the tube was found, as well as “ample” evidence that Moran succumbed to cancer.
“It was indicative when they did the autopsy that she was receiving medical care,” the source said, and that it was this that took her life.
What type of cancer was not immediately clear.
This would cast doubt over reports that Moran overdosed, which gained traction earlier thanks to none other than Scott Baio.
In a radio interview today, Baio said he’s not surprised Moran died, and strongly implied the reason it happened is what many assumed.
“I’m OK, a little shocked but not completely shocked that this happened. My thing is, I feel bad because her whole life, she was troubled.”
“Could never find what made her happy and content. For me, you do drugs or drink, you’re gonna die. I’m sorry if that’s cold.”
“But God gave you a brain, gave you the will to live and thrive and you gotta take care of yourself. I’m saddened by what happened.”
“I don’t know if it was drugs that killed her, I read one report said it might have been and I hope it … I don’t know what I hope.”
“It’s what it is. What can you do?”