An autopsy has confirmed that Happy Days star Erin Moran died from complications of advanced cancer. The Harrison County Coroner in Indiana wrote in his final report that the actress was suffering from stage four cancer, adding that "no illegal narcotics were involved in her death". Erin, famous for playing Joanie Cunningham in the hit TV show, had been battling squamous cell carcinoma. She passed away on 22 April at the age of 56.
Erin Moran passed away on 22 April at the age of 56
Erin had struggled with substance abuse earlier in her life, and unfounded assumptions about her cause of death were further amplified by a comment made by her former co-star Scott Baio during an early morning interview on 24 April. "For me, you do drugs or drink, you're gonna die," Scott said during an appearance on The Bernie & Sid Show. "I'm sorry if that's cold, but God gave you a brain, gave you the will to live and thrive and you gotta take care of yourself."
He quickly took to Facebook to clarify his comments and explained how he was only asked about her troubled past. "I was asked ONLY about Erin's troubled past due to drug & alcohol abuse. I was still upset and said I felt that living that kind of a lifestyle will catch up with you and nothing good would come of it," he wrote. "THIS WAS BEFORE THE CAUSE OF DEATH WAS ANNOUNCED STATING STAGE 4 CANCER." Scott added: "I'm also trying to process this loss. Please stop assuming the worse in me. I'm a compassionate person. I'm very heartbroken over her passing, especially since it was cancer."
The Happy Days star pictured with her husband Steven Fleischmann
Erin's husband Steve Fleischmann, who was with the star for 25 years, penned a heartbreaking statement following her death. He revealed that the cancer had taken hold aggressively in the months prior, writing: "It got so bad so fast. By the middle of February, Erin could no longer speak or eat or drink." Of the day she passed away, he said: "I laid down next to her, held her right hand in my left. I fell asleep, woke up about an hour later still holding her hand, and she was gone, she was just gone."