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Carol Channing at her Manhattan Apartment

Source: Newsday LLC / Getty

Carol Channing died early Tuesday at the age of 97.

According to her longtime publicist B. Harlan Boll confirmed to the Huffington Post and Fox News the actress and singer died of natural causes at her home in Rancho Mirage, California, just 16 days before her 98th birthday. Boll says she had twice suffered strokes in the last year.

Channing starred in “Hello, Dolly,” in the show’s namesake role, plus other Broadway shows. She often appeared on television and in nightclubs, for a time partnering with George Burns in Las Vegas and on a national tour.

A statement from B. Harlan Boll given to Broadway World:

“It is with extreme heartache, that I have to announce the passing of an original Industry Pioneer, Legend and Icon – Miss Carol Channing. I admired her before I met her, and have loved her since the day she stepped … or fell rather … into my life. It is so very hard to see the final curtain lower on a woman who has been a daily part of my life for more than a third of it. We supported each other, cried with each other, argued with each other, but always ended up laughing with each other. Saying good-bye is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but I know that when I feel those uncontrollable urges to laugh at everything and/or nothing at all, it will be because she is with me, tickling my funny bone.”