Mary Tyler Moore passes away at 80

Mary Tyler Moore passes away at 80

Mary Tyler Moore was an iconic American actress, but perhaps her most important role was that of an advocate. Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 33, she was open about her health struggles and served as the international chair for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for more than three decades.

Moore died on Wednesday, January 25 at the age of 80. According to her family, her death was caused by cardiopulmonary arrest after contracting pneumonia.

Moore first rose to fame in 1961 with a role on the Dick Van Dyke show. Nine years later, The Mary Tyler Moore Show debuted, in which she played a single, career-minded woman in Minneapolis. Her show pushed the boundaries of modern television, presenting a strong female character not solely focused on love or family.

Off-screen, Moore was equally as bold, receiving her diabetes diagnosis in the early years of her hit sitcom, and quickly stepping forward as a public face of the disease. She was a passionate advocate who testified before Congress, served as a public face for the diabetes community and shared her very personal journey with the disease openly in interviews and memoirs.

“Every year, 1.4 million Americans are newly diagnosed with diabetes,” says Pamela Kontos, a diabetes nurse practitioner on staff at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill. “When personalities like Moore share their stories with the public, it can help decrease stigma and heighten awareness of symptoms, which helps prevent the potentially devastating complications. Thanks to Moore’s advocacy over the years, more people understand what Type 1 diabetes is, and that’s valuable for people living with it.”

Type 1 diabetes, previously known as juvenile diabetes, is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. However, we now know that it can be diagnosed at any age.  It is an autoimmune disorder and occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin – a hormone that helps the body store and use glucose. Only 5 percent of people with diabetes have Type 1. It cannot be prevented, and there is currently no cure.

Complications of Type 1 diabetes can include eye disease, kidney damage, nerve damage, limb amputation and increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Some reports claim Moore suffered complications with her kidneys and eyes in her final years.

“A Type 1 diagnosis at a young age can be devastating,” says Kontos. “However, with proper education and management, people with diabetes can lower their risk of complications and lead a full, healthy and productive life, as Moore so boldly demonstrated.”

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2 Comments

  1. Such a well written article! I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was 8 years old and have been living with it for 27 years now. Mary Tyler Moore was a great role model and someone I always looked up to! I’m so thankful for her presence, voice and advocacy in the Diabetes community. Thank you for honoring her with this article and presenting Type 1 Diabetes accurately! Thank you to Pamela Kontos for your words as well!

  2. Such a wonderful women I looked up to Mary also I have been Diabetic 1 for now 47 years and still going this disease is not only hard on the person who has it. It is devastating to the children who have to be home and watch their mom or dad go through all the stages and They see their is not really help for the ones at home with the Diabetes because health care is what you make it no real answers from Doctor or Nurses because they is no really medical recognition during the years you just have to take care of you self. But Diabetic 2 get a lot more medical covered and easily available don’t know WGY Just if you have Diabetes ! Know You Have To Do It on Your Own Debra Nielsen Miss You Mary Tyler Moore.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.