Betty White’s longtime agent and friend is denying an Internet rumor that the TV icon’s death was linked to her getting a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot.
Some social media users had shared a quote falsely attributed to White prior to her death, which said: ‘Eat healthy and get all your vaccines. I just got boosted today.’
However, her agent Jeff Witjas has denied she ever gave the quote, saying her death ‘should not be politicized.’
In a statement to PEOPLE on Monday, Witjas added: ‘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.’
Denial: Betty White’s agent has denied a rumor that her passing was related to getting the COVID-19 booster shot (Pictured together in 2015)
It was also revealed this week that White lived her last few years in her Los Angeles home over COVID concerns – but had wished she could have stayed in the Carmel, California, home she shared with her late husband Allen Ludden.
On Monday, it was claimed by actress Vicki Lawrence, who worked with White on Mama’s Family, that her last word before she died was that of her late husband’s name ‘Allen.’
‘I texted Carol [Burnett] and said, “This just sucks. I hate this. It’s just horrible to see the people you love so much go away,” Lawrence, 72, told PageSix.
‘Carol wrote back and said, “I know, I know. I spoke to Betty’s assistant, who was with her when she passed, and she said the very last word out of her mouth was “Allen.”
Lawrence added: ‘How sweet is that? I said, “That is so sweet. God, I hope that’s true. For all of us, I really hope it’s true, a lovely thought.'”
Rumors: A quote attributed to White had been doing the rounds on the Internet
Legend: Betty appearing at the 70th Emmy Awards in LA (2018)
White was living in her five-bedroom, six-bathroom Brentwood home in West Los Angeles when she died on Friday – just weeks before her 100th birthday.
Witjas told the Associated Press she had been staying at her LA home during the pandemic out of caution.
But if she had it her way, the New York Post reports, White would have remained at her longtime marital home in Carmel, which she built with Ludden when they bought the land back in 1978 for just $170,000.
Ludden died just three days shy of their 18th wedding anniversary in June 1981, leaving White with three step-children: David, Martha and Sarah.
‘She never wanted to leave her home in Carmel, but was forced to for at-home care,’ an unnamed source told he Post, explaining: ‘Los Angeles was more accessible.
‘If she had it her way, Betty would’ve lived and died in that home [in Carmel],’ he said. ‘It’s the home she shared with her husband – it’s where she felt more comfortable.’
Meanwhile, her agent Witjas also revealed that he always reminded Betty of her popularity among fans.
Rest in peace: White, who died at the age of 99 on Friday, was only two and a half weeks away from celebrating her 100th birthday in January
He told People: ‘She knew it, but I would tell her often. Even when she wasn’t working, I said, “Betty, millions of people out there are still asking for you. You’re getting your fan letters, I’m getting offers for you.”‘
Jeff always wanted Betty to know just how much people loved and admired her.
He told People: ‘I don’t know if she ever embraced it, [or] really, really felt it. The extent of it. I really don’t.
‘I would always reinforce it with her because I always felt she should know that. I never wanted her to think while she was sitting at home, that the world has passed her by. It never did.’
Jeff is also glad that Betty – who died at her home in Los Angeles on Friday – was able to achieve her life ambitions.
He added that her popularity went ‘beyond love’.
He said: ‘Betty lived a great life and she lived a life that she chose. She was happy.
‘Every time I told her, “Betty, you’re loved,” she would look at me with a wry smile and say, “Really?” I hope she knew. I think she did. It was something beyond love.’
Remembering an icon: Fans paid their respects to White at her Hollywood Walk Of Fame star