Broadway icon Elaine Stritch was convinced her stomach cancer was in remission after undergoing surgery just two months before her death on Thursday (17Jul14), according to her agent.
The Two's Company star, who relocated from New York to her native Michigan last year (13), passed away at the age of 89 and it has since been revealed she was quietly battling cancer at the time of her death.
Now her agent and longtime friend Joel Dean has remembered Stritch as "a great lady" and revealed she was in high spirits just weeks ago after her last operation, before the disease came back.
Dean, who believes her health struggles were complicated by her diabetes, tells People.com, "They (doctors) took out a good part of her stomach, that was maybe two months ago. She said, 'They got it all, they got it all'. But it came back quite aggressively."
Meanwhile, 30 Rock creator and star Tina Fey has added her tribute to Stritch, who was cast as Alec Baldwin's sharp-tongued mother Colleen Donaghy in the hit sitcom.
She says, "Elaine was a 'tough old bird,' but I suspect she may have been a 'tough old bird' since birth. I loved her voice, her timing, her stories and her natural elegance."
Fey will also remember the acting veteran for her generous nature, adding, "One day she was wearing a beautiful butterfly cocktail ring, and when I admired it, she gave it to me on the spot - like an Arab sheik in black pantyhose. I feel very lucky to have worked with her as much as I did."