Tawny Kitaen Landed Major Career Boost Shortly Before Death

Just one day before Tawney Kitaen's death, the actress and music video star appeared in YouTube videos to discuss her work with heavy metal bands in the 1980s. The video, posted on May 6, was the first part of Tawny's Tales, a new series for Manic-TV. On May 7, Kitaen died in Newport Beach, California at age 59. Her brother, Jordan Kitaen, recently told TMZ she died just weeks after their father died after a battle with skin cancer.

Manic-TV released two episodes of Tawny's Tales before her death. On May 9, Manic-TV director Jon Main shared a new video, in which he offered his condolences to Kitaen's family. He said the videos with Kitaen were only recorded a couple of weeks before her death. "We absolutely loved her," Mais said. "We were struck by how warm and open and genuine and generous with her time she was that day." Kitaen planned to be the channel's "West Coast correspondent" and she was "looking forward" to the Tawny's Tales episodes they planned. Mais said the rest of the episodes they filmed with Kitaen will be released in the future. She died before filming could begin on more videos, notes the Toronto Sun.

Kitaen's cause of death has not been released. Her brother told TMZ he believes she died of a broken heart because she had a deep connection with her father, who died on April 12. He "believes the death was too much for Tawny's system to handle, especially because their dad's funeral was just days away when she died," TMZ reported. Kitaen had well-documented struggles with substance abuse, but no drugs were found at the scene of her death. There were also reportedly no signs she took her own life.

"We are heartbroken and saddened to announce the death of our mom," Kitaen's daughters, Wynter and Raine, said in a statement. "We just want to say thank you for all of you, her fans and her friends, for always showing her such support and love. You gave her life every day. We miss her and love her and we know her legacy will live on forever."

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Kitaen was best known for starring in several heavy metal music videos during the 1980s, including Ratt's "Back for More" and the Whitesnake videos "Still Of the Night" and "Here I Go Again." She also appeared in several films during the 1980s, including Bachelor Party with Tom Hanks. In the 2000s, she appeared in reality shows, including Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, in which she discussed her substance abuse. She was married to Whitesnake's David Coverdale from 1989 to 1991 and retired MLB player Chuck Finley from 1997 to 2002. Her last film was the 2014 thriller After Midnight.