The actress died Nov. 24 from cardiopulmonary arrest
The world said goodbye to Florence Henderson on Nov. 24, who passed away at the age of 82 from cardiopulmonary arrest. But unknown to many, America’s TV mom battled heart disease throughout the last decade of her life.
According to the Brady Bunch star’s death certificate, obtained by PEOPLE, Henderson battled coronary artery disease (a type of heart disease) for the last 10 years of her life and suffered from atrial fibrillation (an irregular, rapid heart rate) for the last five years.
On Thanksgiving, Henderson died surrounded by friends and family at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after suffering heart failure, the actress’ manager Kayla Pressman said in a statement to the Associated Press on Thursday. She was hospitalized just a day prior.
In March, Henderson opened up to Fox News Magazine about her heart murmur, which she developed as a child. “I knew as a child that I had a heart murmur and as I got older, I was experiencing more irregular heartbeats, so finally I went to a cardiologist and about eight years ago, I was in really bad shape. My heart started really — such arrhythmia. Anyway, I wound up in the emergency room at Cedars-Sinai in L.A. … so I had surgery and I was fortunate that I could have a repair — they repaired my valve instead of replacing it.”
Just days before her death, Henderson, who played Carol Brady on the 1969 sitcom for five seasons, attended the first night of the Dancing with the Stars finale to support Maureen McCormick, her former onscreen daughter.
McCormick opened up exclusively to PEOPLE about working with her on-screen mother, whom she regarded as a beloved friend. “There are so many people who never met Florence but feel like she was a best friend or a mother to them. To me, she was both,” McCormick said.
“She’ll be remembered as a real class act — someone with so much talent. She just brought a smile to everyone’s heart. She made people feel good. She will be loved forever. She was just so humble, so kind. She will live on forever in everyone’s hearts all over the world,” she added of the late actress.
Henderson is survived by her four children and five grandchildren.