NEW HAVEN, CT – The great-granddaughter of Lucille Ball has passed away following a battle with breast cancer.
Desiree Anzalone died on September 27 at Smilow Cancer Center in Connecticut where she was treated for stage four breast cancer.
Anzalone was the daughter of Julie Arnaz and Mario Anzalone and was described by Arnaz as her “mini-me.” Anzalone was the grandchild of Desi Arnaz Jr., the son of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Sr.
Julia Arnaz spoke to People Magazine and said her daughter was “something else”.
“She was so beautiful, just so so beautiful inside and out,” Arnaz said. “She really, really reminded me a lot of my grandmother, more so than I.”
Arnaz said she went “peacefully” but “watching her slip away was just, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. No mother should have to watch that.”
An obituary described Anzalone as “an old soul who loved 60’s and 70’s music.”
“Her talent was prolific including her art, song writing, poetry and playing piano,” it reads. “She was a talented photographer and enjoyed playing guitar with her father, singing and modeling photography.”
Anzalone was first diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer at 25, according to People. Anzalone underwent chemotherapy and eventually a double mastectomy. She was in remission before learning that her cancer had returned and advanced to Stage 4.
“She probably would have been with us for a few more years…it was starting to spread a lot more, and the tumors were getting bigger. We expected her to stay at least through the holidays,” Arnaz told reporters.
She went to say that Anzalone kept getting fluid around her heart which required her to undergo numerous surgeries. “The cancer would come back two weeks later. And this time, it came back 12 hours later…you’ve got days, if hours.” said Arnaz.
Anzalone made it her mission to educate awareness on breast cancer in young woman. ” It’s rare, but it does happen” Arnaz explained. “And Desiree wanted to put awareness out for if you feel anything, just because you’re a certain age doesn’t mean that it can’t happen to somebody.”
Since March, Arnaz and Anzalone didn’t have enough time to spend with each other due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “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,” Arnaz said.
Anzalone is survived by her fiancé and caregiver, Chris Reynolds. her father, Mario, and his wife, Nancy, her mother, Julia, and her husband, Halbert Massey, her maternal grandmother, Susan Callahan Howe, grandfather Desi Jr, paternal grandmother, Carol Anzalone, paternal great grandmother, Marjorie Broadhurst, stepbrothers Sammy and Joe, and AJ and Nick.