Desiree S. Anzalone, the great-granddaughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Sr. died after a battle with stage 4 breast cancer. She was 31 years old.
Anzalone died Sept. 27 at Smilow Cancer Center in Connecticut, People magazine reported on Friday.
“She was so special. All of our kids are special, but this little girl was something else, ”Anzalone’s mother Julia Arnaz, 51, told the publication. ” We were [best friends]. We are always. ”
Anzalone was the daughter of Arnaz and Mario Anzalone and was Julia’s only child. Arnaz described Anzalone as “my mini-me”.
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“She was so beautiful, so beautiful inside and out,” Arnaz said on the exit. “She really, really reminded me of my grandmother, more than me. ”
Anzalone’s maternal grandfather, Desi Arnaz Jr., was the son of late “I Love Lucy” star Desi Arnaz Sr. and comedian Lucille Ball.
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Arnaz told People that Azalone left “peacefully” but “watching her escape was right, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.” No mother should have to watch this. ”
An obituary describes Anzalone as “an old soul who loved music from the 60s and 70s”.
“His talent was prolific, including his art, songwriting, poetry, and the piano,” one reads. “She was a talented photographer and loved to play the guitar with her father, singing and modeling photography.
Anzalone was first diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at just 25 years old, according to People magazine. Arnaz said that if Anzalone “was a rare case” it “happens”.
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She underwent chemotherapy and eventually decided to have a double mastectomy, People reported, adding that Anzelone was in remission before learning that her cancer had come back – this time in stage 4.
“She probably would have been with us for a few more years – it was starting to spread a lot more and the tumors were getting bigger – but we expected her to stay at least during the holidays,” Arnaz told the newspaper.
“What went wrong was she continued to have fluid around her heart and then they continued to have surgeries and it would come back like two weeks later,” she continued. “And this time they operated and came back 12 hours later and [said], “You have days, even hours. So it was really difficult.
“I was there before it happened. It was unimaginable.
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In Anzalone’s Abridged Life, Arnaz said she made it her mission to educate people that breast cancer can strike anyone at any time.
Anzalone wanted to “educate young girls her age because it happens. It’s rare, but it does happen, ”Arnaz explained. “And Desiree wanted to raise awareness if you feel something, just because you’re a certain age doesn’t mean it can’t happen to anyone. ”
She added: “We just don’t talk much. Usually they are people in their 30s, 40s, 50s – not someone that age. So that was something she really wanted – to help other women like her. A preventative, really. ”
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Arnaz and Anzalone did not have enough time to spend together before she passed away.
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“COVID-19 separated us so I couldn’t see her as much as usual because she was compromised and I didn’t want her to get sick in any way,” Arnaz said to People magazine. So I haven’t been able to spend as much time with her as usual because of COVID since March. I mean, I saw her, but not that much; we were hanging out almost every day she was there. Plus, she lived with me for a while. ”
According to People, Anzalone is survived by her father, Mario, and his wife, Nancy; her mother, Julia, and her husband, Halbert Massey; his maternal grandmother, Susan Callahan Howe; grandfather Desi Jr .; paternal grandmother, Carol Anzalone; paternal great-grandmother, Marjorie Broadhurst; half-brothers Sammy and Joe, and AJ and Nick; and her fiance and caregiver, Chris Reynolds.
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“He didn’t leave her, not for a minute,” Arnaz said of Anzalone’s fiancé. “He was there with us when she passed away. … He never left her. “