Heather O'Rourke, the terrified youngster sucked into a spectral vacuum by supernatural spirits in the film "Poltergeist," is dead at the age of 12, it was learned today.
The blonde ingenue, who finished filming "Poltergeist III" last summer, starring as Carol Ann Freeling for the third time, died Monday.
The Associated Press said she had been pronounced dead at Children's Hospital in San Diego. United Press International quoted her agent, Bob Preston, as saying she "passed away on the way to the hospital" where her parents had called after she fell seriously ill.
Her family, who lives in Big Bear, was not available for comment.
A spokesman for Metro Goldwyn Mayer, where the "Poltergeist" films were produced starting in 1981, said the studio would issue a clarifying statement later.