Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz's great-granddaughter dies of breast cancer

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s great-granddaughter Desiree Anzalone dies of breast cancer at 31

  • Desiree was the only great-granddaughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Sr. 
  • Her grandfather was the couples only son Desi Arnaz Jr. 
  • Desiree was diagnosed with stage 2 cancer at 25-years-old and underwent chemotherapy and a double mastectomy 
  • She went into remission but was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer that spread to her lungs, liver and bones two years ago
  • Desiree died on September 27 in Connecticut  

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s only great-granddaughter Desiree Anzalone has died at the age of 31. 

Anzalone passed on September 27, in her home state of Connecticut, after a six-year battle with cancer, People reported on Friday. 

Her mother Julia Arnaz, daughter of Desi Arnaz Jr., said her only daughter died  ‘peacefully,’ though  ‘watching her slip away was just, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. No mother should have to watch that.’ 

RIP: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s only great-granddaughter Desiree Anzalone has died at the age of 31. Anzalone passed on September 27, in her home state of Connecticut, after a six-year battle with cancer, People reported on Friday 

Anzalone was named after her great-grandmother, Ball, whose middle name was Desiree. 

She was the only child of Julia and Mario Anzalone, and the first great-grandchild of Ball and Arnaz Sr. 

Ball and Arnaz Sr. were married from 1940 until 1960 and shared two children Lucie Arnaz and Desi Jr.  

‘She was so beautiful, just so so beautiful inside and out,’ Julia, 51, said. ‘She really, really reminded me a lot of my grandmother, more so than I.’ 

Adding: ‘She was so special…this little girl was something else. We were [best friends]. We are still.’ 

Anazlone was first diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at 25-years-old and was treated with chemotherapy and a double mastectomy. 

She went into remission but was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2018, and that the disease had spread to her bones, liver and lungs. 

Legacy: Anzalone, was named after her great-grandmother, Ball, who’s middle name was Desiree. She was the only child of Julia and Mario Anzalone, and the first great-grandchild of Ball and Arnaz Sr (Ball and Arnaz in 1954)

Her mother said the family initially hopes Anzalone would live a few more years or at least ‘through the holidays,’ but her health took a turn for the worst. 

‘What went wrong is she kept getting fluid around her heart,’ Julia said.  ‘And then they kept doing surgeries and it would come back like two weeks later.’ 

After Anzalone’s most recent surgery doctors told her 12-hours after surgery that she only had “days, if hours.”

‘So that was really tough,’ Julia said. ‘I was there before that happened. It was unimaginable.’ 

Due to the pandemic, the mother and daughter were kept apart for Anzalone’s health. 

‘I wasn’t able to see her as much as I usually do because she was compromised and I didn’t want her getting sick in any kind of way,’ Julia said. 

Battle: Anazlone was first diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at 25-years-old and was treated with chemotherapy and a double mastectomy. She went into remission but was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2018, and that the disease had spread to her bones, liver and lungs 

Similar: In April 2019, Anzalone shared an article comparing her to her famous great-grandmother and wrote that ‘Lucy and I share the same gumption in regards to my fight with stage 4 breast cancer and how proud she’d be of me’ (Ball and Arnaz pictured at an unknown date)

Adding that they typically would ‘hang out every day,’ though she was able to make some visits to see her daughter. 

While Julia said her daughter was a ‘rare’ case ‘it does happen,’ and noted that her daughter was passionate about raising ‘awareness’ for women her age and younger to be checked for the cancer. 

‘Desiree wanted to put awareness out for if you feel anything,’ Julia said. ‘Just because you’re a certain age doesn’t mean that it can’t happen to somebody.’ 

She also noted that nearly all of her daughter’s diagnoses happened after her birthday in September, but before Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. 

In April 2019, Anzalone shared an article comparing her to her famous great-grandmother and wrote that ‘Lucy and I share the same gumption in regards to my fight with stage 4 breast cancer and how proud she’d be of me.’  

Prior to her death, Anzalone was a photographer, model and singer. Her mother said ‘She wrote songs. Very, very talented, smart, smart girl.’ 

Anzalone is survived by her parents, her step-parents Nancy and Halbert Massey, grandparents Susan Callahan Howe, Desi Jr. Carol Anzalone, great-grandmother, Marjorie Broadhurst and stepbrothers Sammy and Joe, and AJ and Nick. 

She is also survived by her fiance Chris Reynolds who her mother said ‘did not leave her side, not for one minute. He was there with us when she passed.’  

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