UPDATED with cause of death: Erin Moran, the actress who played Joanie Cunningham on the sitcom Happy Days died from complications of Stage 4 cancer, coroner and sheriff’s officials said Monday. She was 56.
Moran was found unresponsive Saturday afternoon April 22 by authorities in Indiana after they got a call just after 4 PM ET. The cause of death was released Monday in a joint statement from the Harrison County coroner’s office and sheriff’s department.
“A joint investigation into Mrs. Moran’s death was conducted by the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department and the Harrison County Coroner’s office,” the statement reads. “A subsequent autopsy revealed that Mrs. Moran likely succumbed to complications of stage 4 cancer. Standard toxicology tests were performed and the results are pending however no illegal narcotics were found at the residence.”
The actress rose to fame in the ’70s after appearing as Ron Howard’s Richie Cunningham’s little sister on Happy Days. The show ran for 11 season, with Moran portraying Joanie from 1974 to 1984. She also reprised her role in the short-lived 1982 series Joanie Loves Chachi alongside Scott Baio, which lasted two seasons.
Her acting credits include Family Affair, The Smith Family, Gunsmoke, The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote, Diagnosis Murder, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star and The Bold and the Beautiful. Her last project was the 2010 film Not Another B Movie.
Upon hearing the news of her passing, Henry Winkler who played Fonzie and Ron Howard tweeted their condolences.