Annette Funicello, the most popular Mouseketeer on “The Mickey Mouse Club” has died at the age of 70 from complications from multiple sclerosis.
The actress, who went on to have a successful career in beach movies and music, died peacefully at Mercy Southwest Hospital in Bakersfield, California.
Funicello shocked her fans in 1992 when she announced she was suffering with multiple sclerosis. She remained upbeat despite her illness.
Annette Funicello was just 13-years-old when she shot to fame on Walt Disney’s television show.
Her devotion to Walt Disney remained throughout her life, with her stating, “He was the dearest, kindest person, and truly was like a second father to me. He was a kid at heart.”
After the “Mickey Mouse Club” show ended, Annette was the only member of the series to remain under contract.
Funicello appeared in Disney movies including “The Shaggy Dog”, “Babes in Toyland”, and “Johnny Tremain”.
Annette Funicello also had a singing career, with hit singles such as “Pineapple Princess” and “Tall Paul”.
Annette teamed with Frankie Avalon in a series of movies aimed at the teenager demographic.
She and Avalon had a reunion in 1987 with “Back to the Beach.” As they filmed, Annette realized she was having problems walking and found out she had MS.
Her symptoms were relatively mild at first, but gradually she lost control of her legs and worried people might think she was drunk.