The great-granddaughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Desiree S. Anzalone, has died after a battle with breast cancer at the age of 31. Anzalone, who was the daughter of Julia Arnaz and Mario Anzalone and the granddaughter of Desi Arnaz Jr., died on September 27 at Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut. She was the first great-grandchild of her famous grandparents.
Anzalone, who battled stage 4 breast cancer, was 24 when she was first diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. After undergoing chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, the cancer returned in 2018, spreading to her liver, lungs, and bones.
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Her mother told PEOPLE that they were unable to see their daughter much in recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic. “The COVID-19 kept us apart, so I wasn’t able to see her as much as I usually do because she was compromised and I didn’t want her getting sick in any kind of way,” Julia said.
Celebrating the life of a legend and MY life’s most profound curiosity. Your energy emulates, still. I would have loved to meet a part of me in you. 🤍
A post shared by Desiree Anzalone (@desidoodah) on
“She was so special. All our children are special, but this little girl was something else. We were [best friends]. We are still,” she added.
According to her obituary, Anzalone loved music from the 1960’s and 70’s, as well as “art, songwriting, poetry, and playing piano.” A talented photographer, she also loved playing guitar, singing, and animals. “Most of all she loved life. She will be missed deeply by all but will live forever in our hearts.”
Desiree mentioned her famous great-grandmother often on her Instagram. In April she wrote, “Celebrating the life of a legend and MY life’s most profound curiosity. Your energy emulates, still. I would have loved to meet a part of me in you.”
Anzalone is survived by her father, Mario, and his wife, Nancy; her mother, Julia, and her husband, Halbert Massey; her maternal grandmother, Susan Callahan Howe; grandfather Desi Jr.; paternal grandmother, Carol Anzalone; paternal great-grandmother, Marjorie Broadhurst; stepbrothers Sammy and Joe, and AJ and Nick; and her fiancé and caregiver, Chris Reynolds, who reportedly never left her side.
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