Annette Funicello has passed away at the age of 70. The former Mouseketeer’s family confirms to “Extra” that Funicello died after being in a coma in a Bakersfield hospital. The family says the coma was a complication of multiple sclerosis.
It is unclear how long Funicello was in a coma. She announced her MS diagnosis in 1992 at the age of 50. Over the years, the disease took away Funicello’s ability to walk, putting her on a walking cane and eventually confining her to a wheelchair. She eventually lost the ability to talk as well.
Funicello joined the original “Mickey Mouse Club” at the age of twelve and quickly became one of the most well known Mouseketeers. She translated her popularity into a pop music and film career, eventually starring alongside Frankie Avalon in many mid-1960’s era “Beach Party” genre films, including “Beach Blanket Bingo, “Pajama Party,” and “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini.”
Her 50s and 60s pop music hits included “Tall Paul,” “Train of Love,” and “Pineapple Express.”
Funicello’s television career continued into the 80s and 90s with guest appearances on “Growing Pains” and “Full House,” among other shows. Her autobiography, “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: My Story” was turned into a television special in 1995.