The last surviving member of the original von Trapp family, whose lives inspired 'The Sound Of Music' story, has died aged 99. Maria Von Trapp, who was Capt. Georg von Trapp and his first wife, Agathe Whitehead's second-oldest daughter, passed away in her sleep.

Maria, who along with her family, fled their home nation of Austria when the Nazis invaded in 1938, died in her home in Vermont and a family friend confirmed the news to the Austrian Times.

"It was a surprise that she was the one in the family to live the longest because ever since she was a child she suffered from a weak heart," said Marianne Dorfer who runs the von Trapp Villa Hotel in Salzburg.

"It was the fact that she suffered from this that her father decided to hire Maria von Trapp to teach her and her brothers and sisters," she added. "That of course then led to one of the most remarkable musical partnerships of the last century."

Her family's journey from escaping the Nazis to find a better life across the pond in the US, where they went onto find fame as a singing and dancing act, was used as the inspiration for the 1959 Broadway musical 'The Sound of Music, which was later adapted into the 1965 film version starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer in the title roles.

The Sound Of Music Live!
The cast of NBC's live stage production of 'The Sound Of Music Live!'

Last December, NBC aired a live broadcast of a stage production of the von Trap's family's' famed tale called, 'The Sound Of Music Live!'. American singer Carrie Underwood starred as the titular role of 'Maria' and 'True Blood's' Stephen Moyer portrayed 'Captain von Trapp'. R.I.P Maria Von Trapp