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Celebs Pay Tribute To Suzanne Somers After Her Death Following Decades-Long Cancer Battle

The actor died a day shy of her 77th birthday on Sunday after a long battle with breast cancer.

Suzanne Somers
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Celebrities are paying tribute to actor Suzanne Somers—best known for her role on the hit 1970s sitcom Three's Company—after she died a day shy of her 77th birthday on Sunday after a long battle with breast cancer.

According to her longtime publicist, R. Couri Hay, Somers died at home, surrounded by family who had come to celebrate her birthday but who now instead "will celebrate her extraordinary life, and want to thank her millions of fans and followers who loved her dearly."

Somers was first diagnosed with breast cancer more than two decades ago and largely dealt with the disease in private. Her passing has affected many old co-workers and longtime friends.

One of them, singer Barry Manilow, told People that she "was the sister I never had and my close confidant forever."

He added:

"We shared triumphs and heartaches. Her fame in so many fields overshadowed her real talent as one of our greatest comedic actors, a loving mother, an amazing homemaker, and one of the world’s best cooks. I will miss her dearly and hope that she is now out of pain and at peace.”

Manilow later published his statement to his official Instagram.

Indeed, Somers had previously told People about her close bond with Manilow, saying they became friends at least in part because of all the teasing they received from the press because of their respective public images. Speaking to the publication in 2017, she said Manilow "has graced our Thanksgiving table every year for decades, and I love him like a brother and a trusted friend."

But Manilow isn't the only celebrity to pay tribute to the late star, who remained a successful Hollywood figure for decades.

Actor Morgan Fairchild said she was "saddened to hear" of Somers' death, saying she'd been "a friend [and] supportive" as they contended with their respective health problems.

ABC News correspondent Deborah Roberts called Somers—who launched a successful career after Three's Company as an author and health guru—an "Uber businesswoman" and said she would "never forget" Somers' most iconic part.

Actor Fran Drescher, the current President of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) who has organized the ongoing Hollywood strike, paid tribute to Somers on Instagram, calling her a "sweet [and] talented woman, a wife and mother."

She added:

"Survivor and thriver for more than 2 decades. But so sad to say she passed away today. Life is very hard, wherever we can bring joy, love, empathy and kindness as we move thru each day, do it! RIP dear Suzanne, you will long be remembered."

Singer Nancy Sinatra described Somers as "such a special person" in an Instagram tribute of her own.

Fox News contributor Sara Carter recalled she met Somers while on a visit to Washington, D.C., referring to her as "a ray of sunshine and a beautiful bolt of lighting - an incredible woman that made my family laugh even in tough times."

Other fans also honored the late actor.

Somers appeared in bit parts in films like American Graffiti and Magnum Force and appeared on the television shows The Rockford Files and One Day at a Time before landing the role of Chrissy Snow on Three's Company.

She proved to be a hit on the show but was later dismissed by ABC executives after she demanded a salary increase from $30,000 to $150,000 per episode, to match the compensation paid to her co-star John Ritter, as well as 10 percent of the show's profits.

After ABC fired her from the program and terminated her contract, Somers sued the network for $2 million but never got her due for fighting for equal pay. In the following decades, she landed a lead role on the hit series Step by Step, wrote more than two dozen books—many of them about health and fitness—and made "hundreds of millions" as the spokeswoman in a series of infomercials for the Thighmaster.

Somers was also never above lampooning herself for comic effect, perhaps most famously in John Waters' Serial Mom, in which she is ultimately put in her place by a homicidal mother played by Kathleen Turner.