Valerie Harper, who played Rhoda Morgenstern on TV's "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its spinoff "Rhoda," has terminal cancer, the actress revealed Wednesday morning. And through the day, friends and fans expressed their support.
Harper has the rare condition leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, which occurs when cancer spreads to the fluid-filled membranes that surround the brain, People reported in a cover story due out later this week. The 73-year-old, a nonsmoker, in 2009 battled lung cancer, which according to the National Institutes of Health is one of the cancers most often linked to involvement of those membranes.
A day before going public, Harper called former costar Moore to share the news, People said. Moore, 76, said Wednesday that she was "absolutely devastated" over her friend's situation. Moore, incidentally, had surgery in May 2011 to remove a benign tumor from the membrane surrounding her own brain.
Cloris Leachman, also an "MTM Show" alum, reached out on Twitter. "My longtime friendship w/ @ValerieHarper has been 1 of the gr8est gifts of my life. I'm here 4 any/everything she may need one day at a time."