Happy Days star Erin Moran died from cancer and not illegal drugs, police have claimed
The 56-year-old US actress, who played Joanie Cunningham in the sitcom as well as in spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi, died at her rural home in New Salisbury, Indiana.
Reports had suggested she had struggled with substance abuse, leading some to claim this contributed to her death.
But Harrison County Sheriff’s Department said toxicology results confirmed she died “naturally from complications of stage four cancer”.
A statement added: “No illegal narcotics were involved in her death."
The force previously said it was “likely” she had died from cancer and no illicit drugs had been found at her home after her death on April 22.
Erin was found dead at her home in Salisbury, Indiana on April 22nd
No illegal narcotics were involved in her death.
Statement from County Sheriff’s Department
She died at her trailer park home in New Salisbury, Indiana, where she lived with her husband Steve Fleischmann and mother-in-law.
Mr Fleischmann said: “It got so bad so fast. By the middle of February, Erin could no longer speak or eat or drink. She had a feeding tube implant and I feed [sic] her six to eight times a day.”
But he said she was determined to remain positive.
He added: “She was still happy, she was active, she texted people on her phone all day."
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Erin played the role of Joanie in the hit show Happy Days which ran for a decade from 1974
He revealed he was at her bedside when she died.
He said: “I laid down next to her held her right hand in my left.
“I fell [sic] asleep woke up about a hour later still holding her hand and she was gone, she was just gone.”
Ron Howard, who played her on-screen brother Richie in Happy Days, had paid tribute to her for “making scenes better, getting laughs and lighting up TV screens”.
Meanwhile, Happy Days co-star Henry Winkler, 71, who played the Fonz, tweeted: “Oh Erin… now you will finally have the peace you wanted so badly here on earth …Rest in it serenely now.. too soon.”
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Erin, who died on April 22, joined the cast of Happy Days at just 14 when she took on the role of Joanie in the hit show, which run for a decade from 1974.
She also starred in series including The Love Boat and Murder, She Wrote but she failed to repeated the success of Happy Days.
In 2012, she along with her co-stars pursued a case against Happy Days in suing the sit-com’s maker CBS over merchandising payments and won a settlement of £506,000 each.