Actress Valerie Harper dies at 80 after cancer battle

Actress Valerie Harper arrives to AARP The Magazine's 14th Annual Movies For Grownups Awards Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 2, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Valerie Harper, who scored guffaws and stole hearts as Rhoda Morgenstern on back-to-back hit sitcoms in the 1970s, has died. She was 80.

Longtime family friend Dan Watt confirmed Harper died Friday, adding the family wasn’t immediately releasing any further details.

Harper was a breakout star playing the lovable sidekick on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” then as the funny leading lady of the spinoff series, “Rhoda.”

In March 2013, she revealed that she had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She had battled lung cancer in 2009, and her husband-manager had said recently that he’d been advised to place her in hospice.

Harper appeared on Broadway and in feature films including “Freebie and the Bean” and “Chapter Two."

Doctors said she only had three months to live after the brain cancer diagnosis, but she responded well to treatment and actually competed on "Dancing With the Stars" later that year.

Harper was rushed to a hospital in 2015 after suffering a medical emergency during a performance of a musical in Maine.

Valerie was born in New York and she enjoyed a successful career on Broadway before she landed the role of Rhoda on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," which then led to the spin-off show "Rhoda."

She came back to television several years later on the show "Valerie," but left after two seasons.

Harper also won four Emmys and one Golden Globe for her various roles.