Betty White's Cause of Death Released With Death Certificate

Betty White's cause of death has been made public. She suffered a stroke almost a week before she died, according to the death certificate obtained by TMZ. White's cause of death was listed as a cerebrovascular accident, which is a loss of blood flow to part of the brain, leading to brain tissue damage. The Golden Girls star died on New Year's Eve at age 99.

The death certificate revealed that White suffered the stroke six days before her death. She was "alert and coherent after the stroke," a source with direct knowledge told the site. Another source described the stroke as "mild" and told PEOPLE she "died peacefully in her sleep."

White's agent and friend Jeff Witjas announced White's death on Dec. 31. She "died peacefully in her sleep at her home" that morning, Witjas said. "Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever," Witjas continued. "I will miss her terribly and so will the animal world that she loved so much. I don't think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again."

A few days after White's death, Witjas released another statement, debunking false social media rumors that White's death was linked to her getting a coronavirus vaccine booster shot. A meme claiming White said she got a booster shot days before her death went viral, but Witjas confirmed White never made such a comment.

"Betty died peacefully in her sleep at her home. People are saying her death was related to getting a booster shot three days earlier but that is not true. She died of natural causes. Her death should not be politicized – that is not the life she lived," Witjas told PEOPLE on Jan. 3. "She never said that regarding the booster. Betty died of natural causes. She did not have the booster three days before she died."  


White died just weeks before she was set to celebrate her 100th birthday. Her career on television began at the very birth of the medium, and she continued performing well into the streaming era. She won five Emmys, two for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, one for The Golden Girls, one for The John Larroquette Show, and her final one for her triumphant Saturday Night Live hosting performance in 2010. In 1983, she became the first woman to win a Daytime Emmy for hosting a game show. In 2015, she received a lifetime achievement award from the Daytime Emmys. Although White's funeral will be private, fans can still honor her memory by checking out the documentary Betty White: A Celebration, which will be released on Jan. 17.