Great-granddaughter of Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz dies of breast cancer

Desiree S. Anzalone, the great-granddaughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Sr., died Sept. 27 after a battle with stage 4 breast cancer. She was 31.

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Anzalone, of Stratford, Connecticut, died at Smillow Cancer Center in New Haven, People reported. She was the first great-grandchild of the “I Love Lucy” television stars.

Born Sept. 15, 1989, in Norwalk, Connecticut, Anzalone was the daughter of Julia Arnaz and Mario Anzalone. Her maternal grandfather, Desi Arnaz Jr., was the son of Ball and Arnaz Sr.

Julia Arnaz, 51, told People that her daughter died peacefully.

“Watching her slip away was just, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy," Julia Arnaz told the magazine. "No mother should have to watch that.”

“She was so special. All our children are special, but this little girl was something else. We were (best friends). We are still. She was so beautiful, just so, so beautiful inside and out. She really, really reminded me a lot of my grandmother, more so than I.”

According to her obituary, Desiree Anzalone loved 1960s and 1970s music, in addition to “art, song-writing, poetry and playing the piano."

“She was a talented photographer and enjoyed playing guitar with her father, singing and modeling photography,” according to her obituary.

Desiree frequently honored her great-grandmother on Instagram, Entertainment Tonight reported. In April she wrote, “Celebrating the life of a legend and MY life’s most profound curiosity. Your energy emulates, still. I would have loved to meet a part of me in you.”

Desiree Anzalone was first diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer when she was 25, People reported. After undergoing chemotherapy, Anzalone decided to get a double mastectomy. Her cancer returned to stage 4 in 2018.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Julia Arnaz said she did not get to spend a lot of time with her daughter during her final days.

“The COVID-19 kept us apart, so I wasn’t able to see her as much as I usually do because she was compromised and I didn’t want her getting sick in any kind of way,” Julia Arnaz told People. “So I wasn’t able to spend as much time with her as I normally do because of the COVID since March. I mean, I saw her, but not as much; we’d hang out every day practically she was here. Plus, she lived with me for a while.”


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