Erin Moran, the former Happy Days child star, likely died of cancer, according to the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office and the county coroner.
A statement released on Monday confirmed that an autopsy found she “likely succumbed to complications of stage 4 cancer.” A toxicology report is pending but no illegal narcotics were found at her home, according to the statement.
- Moran, beloved for her role on Happy Days as Joanie Cunningham, was found dead by police at her home in New Salisbury, Indiana, on Saturday. She was 56.
- Moran’s former costars took to social media to memorialize her. Scott Baio wrote on Facebook: “May people remember Erin for her contagious smile, warm heart, and animal loving soul. I always hoped she could find peace in her life. God has you now, Erin.”
- Henry Winkler told People: “I will always remember Erin with her sweet smile that greeted me on the very first day I walked onto the set of Happy Days in 1974. She was only nine years old. For the next ten years that smile never faded. Unfortunately yesterday it did. My condolences go out to her family. She will always be locked in my heart.”
- In recent years, Moran appeared to be struggling, with reports of her living in a trailer park and drinking heavily surfacing in the tabloids. Other former child stars reportedly tried to get her the help she needed, to no avail.
- Former child star turned advocate Paul Peterson addressed the situation on Facebook writing: “I am proud of our efforts over the years to help Erin Moran whose troubles were many and complex. Don’t doubt for a moment that we tried…sincerely tried through time and treasure…to give comfort to one of our own.
- The former Donna Reed Show star continued: “At least a half-dozen [former child stars] were actively reaching out to Erin in the last week of her life… From Paris to London, from New York to LA, our members were in there pitching, doing what they could to help. Do not doubt that for a minute.”