Bettine Moore Close died in her sleep Monday morning at 90

By Liz McNeil Jacqueline Andriakos
February 26, 2015 07:25 AM
Courtesy Close Family

Bettine Moore Close – mother of actress Glenn Close – died on Feb. 23, PEOPLE has learned. She was 90.

“Our beloved mother, Bettine Moore Close, drifted off her earthly moorings early [Monday] morning, peacefully in her sleep, with her devoted dogs, Lizzie and The Pudding, lying beside her,” the actress tells PEOPLE. “Mom was a remarkable woman with a huge heart and unquenchable spirit and she lives on in all of us who loved her so dearly.”

“Mom adored all creatures and instilled in her progeny a deep reverence for nature,” adds the actress. “She always had a posse of dogs following her around and she cared deeply about gorillas and elephants. (There is, in fact, a gorilla named after her in the Bronx Zoo.)”

Close told loved ones: “For anyone interested in making a donation in her memory, please send something to Virunga National Park. There is a program there called Congohounds that is training Bloodhounds to track poachers and wounded rangers. I think Mom would love that program. Here is their website:”

Besides Glenn, Bettine is survived by two other daughters, Tina and Jessie, and two sons, Alexander (called Sandy) and Tambu Kioski, whom she and her late husband adopted while living in the Belgian Congo.

Says Close, “She was a remarkable woman who, with her quiet strength, her compassion and humor, greatly influenced the lives of many people.”