Lucille Ball died on April 26, 1989 from a ruptured aorta. The I Love Lucy star’s passing was felt deeply by all of her adoring fans. Ball’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz, describes the entire experience as “bizarre.”
How did Lucille Ball die?
According to Mental Floss, Ball started experiencing “shooting pains in her chest” on April 17, 1989. She didn’t want to go to the hospital, but after some convincing from her husband, Gary Morton, and daughter, she said she’d go if she could “get nicely dressed and put on her make-up.”
At the hospital, Ball received seven hours of open-heart surgery. A few days later she returned home. At home, Ball was told she couldn’t do anything strenuous like climbing stairs, so she had to move into the downstairs guest room. According to the publication, the change “broke Lucy’s heart.”
“She did not want to live in a makeshift bedroom and she did not want to be treated like an invalid,” writes Eddie Deezen.
The next day, Ball’s aorta ruptured again and she went into full cardiac arrest and died.
Lucie Arnaz’s reaction to mom Lucille Ball’s death
Even before Ball died, Arnaz was dreading her mother’s passing.
“I don’t have words to this day,” she told the Television Academy Foundation in 2016. “There’s nothing to compare it to, that’s for sure. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life, truly. I always kind of knew it was gonna happen, too… thinking, boy, that’s gonna be something I’m not gonna want to deal with. And I had no clue.”
Arnaz went on to say that she and her family had the “tremendous responsibility” of consoling the entire world. Even though Aranz was the one who lost her mother, she had to do a lot of taking care of everyone else during that time.
“And that’s odd, too,” she said, “because the show is still there. Nothing changed that’s gonna change the thing they love the most. The thing they love the most ain’t going off the air. It’s there, tomorrow morning still gonna be there. But my mother’s not gonna be here tomorrow morning.”
Arnaz says “complete strangers” would approach her on the street after her mother died just drenched in tears.
“I’d say, ‘I didn’t realize you knew her!’ [They’d say,] ‘I didn’t, but I can’t even imagine!’ I’m going, ‘She hasn’t made an episode of I Love Lucy in 50 years! What are you talking about?’” she shared.
“But it’s odd,” Arnaz added. “It’s like she’s gone now and it’s never gonna be the same. It was bizarre. Just bizarre.”
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