Mary Kay Letourneau, a teacher who married her former sixth-grade student after she was convicted of raping him in a legal case that drew global headlines, has died.
She was 58 years old.
According to two a pair of insiders close to Letourneau, she passed away Monday after quietly battling cancer for several months.
"It was a very sad ending," a source tells People Magazine, explaining that Letourneau's started to deteriorate significantly in recent months.
Letourneau was 34 years old when she began a sexual relationship with a sixth grader named Vili Fualaau.
In 1997, while awaiting sentencing on second-degree rape charges of Fualaau, the Washington-based middle school teacher gave birth to their first daughter, Audrey.
Despite an understandable onslaught of controversy and an enormous amount of backlash over the years, the two actually got married in 2005 after Letourneau served a seven-and-a-half year sentence for her actions.
They separated in 2017.
Shortly after their affair was discovered, Letourneau was ordered to spend six months in jail and to stay away from Fualaau.
However, upon her release in 1998, authorities discovered that the pair had resumed their relationship.
As a reuslt, Letourneau's plea agreement was revoked and she went on to serve the aforementioned prison sentence.
Fualaau and Letourneau wrote a book together titled “Un Seul Crime, L’Amour,” or “Only One Crime, Love.”
Their story was also the subject of a USA Network movie, “All American Girl.”
Mary Kay's family and the family of her estranged husband released a statement on her passing late Tuesday, confirming Letourneau died after being diagnosed with metastatic cancer six months ago.
"We are deeply saddened to share the very difficult news that our beloved Mary passed away peacefully on July 6th 2020 after a six month battle since being diagnosed with stage IV, or metastatic, cancer.
"Mary fought tirelessly against this terrible disease," it reads.
In an interview with Barbara Walters in 2015, Letourneau said she should not be labeled a sex offender.
"There is a story of us that has a life of its own, but it's not our story," Mary Kay Letourneau, who was a married mother of four before the tryst, told the journalist.
She emphasized that she and her then-husband were legitimately in love, while Fualaau said his experience with Mary Kay shouldn't serve as any sort of positive example.
"I don't support younger kids being married or having relationships with someone older. I don't support it," he said back then.
Concluded the statement released by Letourneau's son from her previous marriage:
"Mary, and all of us, found great strength in having our immediate and extended family members together to join her in this arduous struggle.
"We did our very best to care for Mary and one another as we kept her close and stayed close together
"It is in that spirit that we ask for privacy and respect for our desire to focus on the road ahead for all of us who make up Mary's collective family.
"We ask that our boundaries and need for privacy be honored with continued kindness and understanding."
As the ex-couple's split proceeded, Letourneau and Fualaau continued to live together, occasionally being spotted out in the Seattle area.
They both remained active in the lives of their two daughters, Georgia and Audrey.
However, despite numerous reconciliation attempts, the case moved to private arbitration in February of 2019.
The separation then became official late last year and the two began living apart.