Actress Tanya Roberts died on Sunday from a urinary tract infection that spread to her kidney, gallbladder, liver and bloodstream
Actress Tanya Roberts died from a urinary tract infection that spread to her kidney, gallbladder, liver and bloodstream, her agent has revealed.
Roberts – a former Bond girl and Charlie’s Angels star – passed away aged 65 on Monday, her partner Lance O’Brien confirmed on Tuesday.
O’Brien had earlier been at the center of a mix up over Roberts’ death after her agent Mike Pingel informed the media that she had died at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles on Sunday, while she was still clinging to life in the ICU.
O’Brien and Pingel sought to explain how they came to issue the premature death announcement when they were stopped by a photographer outside Roberts’ Hollywood Hills home on Tuesday.
It was at the same home that Roberts collapsed on Christmas Eve after returning from a walk with her dog.
She was rushed to the hospital and later placed on a ventilator.
O’Brien said he was able to see Roberts for the last time on Sunday in the ICU, where staff told him she wouldn’t recover.
Distressed and confused, O’Brien left the hospital and was driven home by Pingel, whom he told: ‘I just said goodbye to Tanya.’
O’Brien suggested that Pingel incorrectly interpreted his statement as proof that Roberts was dead. Pingel remembered the exchange differently, quoting O’Brien as saying: ‘She died in my arms.’
Lance O’Brien, left, is pictured outside the star’s home with her rep Mike Pingel on Tuesday
O’Brien and Pingel sought to explain how they came to issue the premature death announcement when they were stopped by a photographer outside Roberts’ Hollywood Hills home on Tuesday. O’Brien said he was distraught and confused when he visited Roberts from the last time, and Pingel misinterpreted his words as saying that she was dead
Roberts’ rep, Mike Pingel (left with her), issued a press release on Sunday saying that the actress had died aged 65 on Saturday. But in a bizarre twist on Monday, Pingel announced that Roberts’ husband informed him that she was still alive
Roberts is best known for appearing opposite Roger Moore (above together) as Stacey Sutton in the 1985 Bond film A View To Kill
Pingel issued his first press release on Sunday, sparking an outpouring of tributes and obituaries. Then on Monday morning he issued a second statement saying that Roberts was in fact still alive but in ‘dire’ condition.
O’Brien was being interviewed by Inside Edition when he received a call from the hospital at about 9am Monday.
‘Now, you are telling me she’s alive?’ O’Brien said, his face torn in anguish.
In a third press release on Tuesday, Pingel announced: ‘With a heavy heart I can confirm the death of Tanya Roberts last night on January 4, 2021 around 9:30pm PT at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA.’
The rep said Roberts’ cause of death was a urinary tract infection that spread to other organs and her bloodstream, causing a rare, life-threatening condition called urosepsis.
Urosepsis can occur when a UTI is left untreated and chemicals the immune system releases into the bloodstream to fight the infection cause inflammation throughout the entire body instead.
Approximately 30 to 40 percent of urosepsis cases are fatal.
Video shows a look of shock washing over O’Brien’s face as he cries into the phone: ‘Now, you are telling me she’s alive?’ He then breaks down in tears and tells the interviewer: ‘The hospital is telling me she is alive. They are calling me from the ICU team’
TMZ reports O’Brien, pictured Tuesday, has now confirmed Roberts died Monday night. She had been suffering from an unspecified illness which caused liver and kidney failure.
TIMELINE OF ROBERTS’ DEATH CONFUSION
Roberts goes out to walk the dogs and returns home, complaining that she’s feeling unwell and says she wants O’Brien to take her for a covid test the next day.
At around 4am Roberts collapses on the way to the bathroom and O’Brien rushes to her aid. She is unable to control her limbs and he phones an ambulance.
She tests negative for covid but is rushed into ICU for kidney and liver failure. Doctors say she has a blood infection with an ITU suspected as the cause.
O’Brien says he is unable to visit her because of the hospital’s covid rules.
In the next few days, he receives a call from Roberts who tells him she has been placed on 50 percent oxygen. Down from 90 percent.
He is later informed by medics that they should be able to discharge her soon but that she will need a colostomy bag for several weeks.
But confusion ensues, he is later informed that she is going to die and is invited to say goodbye to her.
SUNDAY, JAN. 3:
O’Brien visits her and holds her in his arms as he says goodbye. Roberts is unable to speak but O’Brien claims he sees her eyes open. Doctors tell him it’s a muscle spasm.
He leaves her distraught and calls her agent Mike Pingel to say: ‘I just said goodbye to Tanya.’
On the same day, he appeared to claim that he had watched Roberts’ ‘last moments’ and hours later news of her ‘death’ was being reported around the world.
MONDAY, JAN. 4:
The next afternoon, while giving an interview, O’Brien receives a phone call from the hospital informing him that Roberts is alive.
He breaks down in tears of joy but later informs the media that Roberts’ condition is still believed to be fatal.
TUESDAY, JAN 5:
O’Brien confirms Roberts died Monday night at L.A.’s Cedars-Sinai Hospital
O’Brien, who was pictured Tuesday using the help of a walking stick, said he went to hospital on Sunday after doctors said the actress was fading fast and that she was going to die, TMZ reported. He said she opened her eyes and tried to grab him but that her eyes then closed again and she ‘faded’.
Having said what he believed was his final words to her, he was left devastated and walked out of the hospital without speaking to medical staff.
On the same day, he appeared to claim that he had watched Roberts’ ‘last moments’ and hours later news of her ‘death’ was being reported around the world.
He has since attempted to explain the confusion over how the death announcement came about and says he ‘doesn’t know’ who to blame for the mix-up. The hospital has refused to comment on the case because of patient confidentiality.
‘I turn around and she’s completely passed out cold,’ he told The Sun in a description of his harrowing visit to her bedside. ‘I thought that was that, she wasn’t going to recover.
‘So when I came down the elevator I was distraught, I was lost, I was completely discombobulated. There was nobody there to guide me. I called her publicist Mike Pingel and I said I just said goodbye to Tanya.’
Pingel later issued a press release saying that Roberts – best known for appearing opposite Roger Moore in the 1985 Bond film A View To Kill – had died.
He explained: ‘Lance truly believed Tanya had died.’
The rep said he’d learned the news of Roberts’ ‘death’ from O’Brien, who told TMZ that he visited her at the hospital before she passed.
‘As I held her in her last moments, she opened her eyes. I was able to see her beautiful eyes one last time. Tanya had the most beautiful eyes,’ O’Brien said Sunday.
‘When she saw me and I was there, I saw her eyes open up. I felt good. I said: “Hey, her eyes are opening. Her eyes are opening.” They told me that’s just a reflex.’
Then on Monday Pingel announced that the hospital had called O’Brien and informed him that Roberts was alive – as seen in the Inside Edition video.
By Tuesday it was confirmed Roberts had died in the hospital.
Asked about the mix-up, a spokesperson for Cedars Sinai would only say: ‘Due to patient confidentiality we cannot confirm or deny that anyone is a patient at Cedars Sinai.’
Speaking prior to her death Pingel said that Roberts’ condition was ‘dire’.
O’Brien told The Sun: ‘Her kidneys are so far gone, her liver is so far gone, her gall bladder is so far gone. She also has a terrible blood infection. The doctors say it started out with a urinary tract infection.
‘The doctors say there’s no way she’s going to be the same. She always told me she didn’t want to be an invalid. She said if it got to this stage, end it for me.’
He said that he was unable to return to the hospital because he would need special permission due to the pandemic.
O’Brien said he had told doctors not to keep her on life support just so that he could see her: ‘I have seen her already, I got to hold her.’
He explained how sudden her illness had been, that Roberts was incredibly fit and would go hiking in the hills for up to four miles each day.
Pingel (left with Roberts) did not explain what sparked the confusion over her health status
Roberts complained of feeling unwell on Christmas Eve and told O’Brien she wanted him to take her for a covid test the following day.
But early in the morning at around 4am she collapsed on her way to the bathroom and as Lance tried to pick her up she was unable to control her legs or her arms.
An ambulance was called and she was admitted but O’Brien was not allowed to visit.
Her coronavirus test was negative and he was later able to speak to Roberts on the phone. She told him that she was on 50 percent oxygen, which was an improvement to the 90 percent air she was breathing earlier.
‘So I’m figuring she’s going to be home in a day or two,’ O’Brien told The Sun.
The next day things improved further, with O’Brien informed that Roberts might need a colostomy bag for her kidneys for four to six weeks but that she could return home.
But he added: ‘Then they tell me she’s not going to get out of this, it’s end of life and if you are going to come see her, come see her.’
O’Brien remains confused about how he came to believe she was dead, saying that he was often speaking to different medics and, not being able to visit, it was hard to understand the time frame when her prognosis was being relayed to him.
TMZ said it heard from several sources close to the family who claimed O’Brien called them with news of Roberts’ death on Sunday.
The outlet had originally reported that Roberts collapsed after she returned home from walking her dog on December 24.
WHAT ARE UTIS AND HOW CAN THEY BE DEADLY?
A urinary tract infection, more commonly known as a UTI, is an infection in any part of the urinary system.
UTIs can have different names depending on which part of the urinary tract is infected.
Cystitis affects the bladder, pyelonephritis affects the kidneys and urethritis affects the ureter and urethra.
Signs and symptoms include:
- A burning feeling when urinating
- A frequent urge to urinate, despite little urine coming out upon doing so
- Dark, cloudy or strange-smelling urine
- Fever and chills
- Pain in the lower abdomen or back
Women are much more likely to get a UTI with their risk being as high as 1 in 2 in their lifetime compared to 1 in 10 among men.
The most common cause of UTIs is a transfer of bacteria from the anus to the urethra. Because women have shorter urethras and less distance between the two body parts, it is easier for bacteria to be introduced.
Antibiotics are the most common treatment followed by drinking a lot of water to flush bacteria from the body.
UTIs do not typically lead to death but, when left untreated, they can cause sepsis, a life-threatening condition in which chemicals that the immune system releases into the bloodstream to fight an infection cause inflammation throughout the entire body instead.
The term for sepsis caused by a UTI is urosepsis.
Signs of urosepsis include:
- pain in the lower sides of the back
- nausea and vomiting
- difficulty breathing
- inability to think clearly
- confusion or delirium
A 2019 study found that the risk of a bloodstream infection was more than seven times greater in patients who did not receive antibiotics immediately after seeing a physician for a UTI.
The estimated mortality rate from urosepsis is between 30% and 40%.
Roberts appeared to be looking healthy and in good spirits late last year. She is pictured with Pingel in a recent photo
Roberts frequently uploaded photos to Instagram, including a snap that showed her wearing a mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic as she signed fan photographs
Before her collapse, insiders said Roberts seemed ‘perfectly healthy’ and was participating in video chats with her fans.
It’s unclear if and when O’Brien and Roberts tied the knot but reports indicated that the pair lived together at her home in Hollywood Hills.
Public records indicate that it was the same home Robert’s shared with her first husband, screenwriter Barry Roberts, who died in 2006. Tanya and Barry had been married for 32 years and had no children.
In addition to being a Bond Girl, Roberts starred in the fifth and final season of Charlie’s Angels between 1980 and 1981.
She is also famous for playing Midge Pinciotti in the hit sitcom, That 70s Show, appearing alongside Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis.
Roberts was born Victoria Leigh Blum in October 1955 in New York City, before starting her career as a fashion model in her late teens.
She married Barry Roberts when she was just 19 in 1974, and started studying to become an actress at The Actors Studio with Lee Strasberg and Uta Hagen.
The leggy blonde made her film debut in 1975’s Forced Entry.
Roberts tied the knot with screenwriter Barry Roberts in 1974. She was just 19 years old at the time. The pair are pictured together in 1981
Roberts played geologist Stacey Sutton alongside Roger Moore (above together) in his seventh and final James Bond movie in 1985
Roberts is pictured in a promotional photo for A View To Kill in 1984
Roberts was chosen above 2,000 other actresses to replace Shelley Hack in the fifth and final season of Charlie’s Angels, which aired between 1980 and 1981. She is pictured left
In 1998, Roberts returned to the small screen to play Midge in That 70s Show. She is pictured front row second from left. The show also starred Ashton Kutcher (back row second from left) and Mila Kunis (front row third from left)
Roberts and her husband relocated permanently to Los Angeles in 1977, which paid off in a big way three years later.
The beauty was chosen above 2,000 other actresses to replace Shelley Hack in the fifth and final season of Charlie’s Angels, which aired between 1980 and 1981.
However, she became a global sensation several years later, when she was elevated to ‘Bond girl’ status in 1985’s A View To A Kill.
In that film, she starred as sultry geologist Stacey Sutton alongside Roger Moore in his seventh and final James Bond movie.
Afterward, Roberts continued to work regularly with roles in films such as Body Slam, Twisted Justice, Purgatory and Legal Tender, which was written by her husband.
Roberts is is best known for appearing opposite Roger Moore in the 1985 Bond film A View To Kill (pictured)
Roberts and her husband, Barry, are pictured in 1985. Barry tragically passed away in 2006, leaving Roberts a widow after 32 years of marriage
In 1998, she returned to the small screen to play Midge in That 70s Show.
The hit Fox sitcom also starred Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Wilmer Valderrama and Topher Grace.
She left the show in 2004 to take care of her husband who was terminally ill at the time. He tragically passed away two years later.
Roberts did not appear in any more films or television shows following her first husband’s death.
However, the beauty appeared to be looking healthy and in good spirits late last year.
She frequently uploaded photos to Instagram, including a snap that showed her wearing a mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic as she signed fan photographs.
Roberts is pictured with her dogs in a photo shared on her Instagram page last year. She had taken one of her canines out for a walk before she returned to her Hollywood Hills home and collapsed
Tanya Roberts as Sheena, from the film ‘Sheena: Queen of the Jungle’, 1984