In her final hours, Farrah Fawcett was worried about her son, Redmond O'Neal.
"She was saying his name, 'Redmond,'" her friend Mela Murphy, who was by Fawcett's side in the days before she died, told PEOPLE this week. "That was the last thing she said."
O'Neal, 34, is Fawcett's son with longtime love Ryan O'Neal. He battled drug addiction and was in prison on drug charges with his future before him uncertain. He recently was sued for allegedly stabbing a man in the head.
"I told her I'd take care of him, that I'll always be there for him," Murphy said. "I said, 'You can go now.' It was just a few hours before she died."
Fawcett died on June 25, 2009, of anal cancer at age 62. Murphy and others who were close to the actress told PEOPLE how Fawcett lived out her final days.
"She never gave up," said her Charlie's Angels co-star Jaclyn Smith. "She was relentless in her fight."
"Farrah was glad she went public," close friend Alana Stewart said. Fawcett went public with her cancer battle, chronicling her 2006 diagnosis in the documentary Farrah's Story, with Stewart co-produced with her. In 2007, she launched the Farrah Fawcett Foundation, which funds HPV-related cancer research, prevention and education and provides patient assistance for those in need.
"She got thousands of letters from people thanking her for her courage in coming forward to say she had anal cancer. That was her thing — to fight the fight," Steward added.
Murphy, who grew close to Fawcett when she began working as her hairdresser in 1990, said the final days she spent with her were made even harder by the fact that Murphy "always thought she was going to pull through."
"Even after the chemotherapy was causing her hair to come out in clumps and she shaved her head, Farrah wanted to do a photo shoot completely bald. 'Go for it,' I told her. She looked so gorgeous with those high cheekbones. She had no reservations. She was about going forward."
When she went into Fawcett's laundry room one day, she said "There were lies of my clothes that she'd borrowed, all folded. Enough to fill a wardrobe box. That's when I knew."
Murphy and O'Neal were both at Fawcett's side in the hospital during her final days. At one point, when the star could no longer drink fluids, Murphy snuck in a bottle of Kahlua. "Kahlua and milk, that was our drink," she said. "I dipped a swap in it and gave it to her. She looked at it and laughed."
Fawcett died the next morning, but not before making one last request.
"The one thing she told me was she wanted her mother's ashes in the coffin," Murphy said. Farrah's mother, Pauline Fawcett, died in 2005 at age 91.
"Her mother meant so much to her. So Ryan made sure they were brought over from Texas. That was Farrah. She always thought about the people she loved."
Fawcett, who would be 72 if she were still alive, would also probably be glad to know that Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross is doing what she can do to educate people about anal cancer, having survived her 2017 diagnosis.0comments
"I was so not thinking anything was wrong because I didn't have any symptoms, and [my gynecologist] gave me a [routine digital rectum] exam and came around and said, 'Well, I just want you to know, whatever it is, it's curable,'" Cross told CBS News earlier this month. "You're just like, 'What? What are you talking about?'"
"I know that there are people who are ashamed. You have cancer. Do you have to then also feel ashamed? Like you did something bad because it took up residence in your anus? I mean, c'mon. Really? There's enough on your plate," she said. "You can say, 'Oh, this is embarrassing, this is uncomfortable,' but by the time you know it, it's over. I mean, lots of things in life are not fun, but you can bear it."