Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Sr.’s great-granddaughter Desiree S. Anzalone has died after a battle with breast cancer. She was 31.
According to family members, Desiree passed away peacefully on Sept. 27 at Smilow Cancer Center in Connecticut.
“She was so special,” Desiree’s mom Julia Arnaz shared with People. “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,” Julia added. “She really, really reminded me a lot of my grandmother, more so than I.”
According to Desiree’s obituary, the Stratford, Conn., resident had various talents including art, song writing, poetry and playing piano. She was described as an “old soul who loved 60’s and 70’s music.”
“Desiree was a lover of animals & people but most of all she loved life,” her obituary stated. “She will be missed deeply by all but will live forever in our hearts.”
At the age of 25, Desiree was first diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. After undergoing chemotherapy, she decided to get a double mastectomy.
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According to People, she was in remission for a period of time. But in 2018, Desiree learned that her cancer returned as stage 4 and had spread to the liver, lungs and bones.
Desiree’s mom claimed her daughter wanted to bring attention to Breast Cancer Awareness Month and “to give awareness for young girls her age because this does happen. It’s rare, but it does happen.”
“Desiree wanted to put awareness out for if you feel anything, just because you’re a certain age doesn’t mean that it can’t happen to somebody,” Julia shared with People. “It’s just not talked about a lot. It’s usually people in their late 30s, 40s, 50s—not somebody at this age. So that was something that she really wanted—to help other women like her. A preventative, really.”
In one of her final posts on social media, Desiree shared a photo of Lucille and expressed her fondness for a family member she was unable to spend time with.
“Celebrating the life of a legend and MY life’s most profound curiosity,” she wrote. “Your energy emulates, still. I would have loved to meet a part of me in you.”