Suzanne Somers had a long and successful career as an actress, entrepreneur, and author. The Three’s Company star tragically passed away earlier this fall after a long battle with cancer, which she had been living with for years. 

Somers chose not to go through with chemotherapy but instead relied on alternative medication and treatments. Even so, her friends were reportedly begging her to rethink her decision. Sadly, it was too late.

Now, many weeks have gone by since Somers’ death. The death certificate has been obtained by USA Today – and it paints a new picture of what killed her.

Suzanne Somers went from unknown to a star in a very short period. From appearing in plays in high school, she got her first significant role in the 1973 George Lucas film American Graffiti, where she had one simple line, “I love you.”

“This is a life-changing moment. Five seconds on film that will never be forgotten,” she said, adding that Lucas told her, “Everybody will always remember the mysterious blonde in the Thunderbird.”

Suzanne Somers

Not long after, Suzanne Somers got a gig at The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where she began reading poetry in front of a national audience every month. She credited herself as the “Mysterious Blonde in the Thunderbird.”

It was difficult to miss Suzanne Somers, and this one TV executive didn’t either. He offered her a role in a new television series called Three’s Company. She was cast as Chrissy Snow and helped the series become a television mega-hit.

“I am really proud of creating that dumb blonde cause she had a moral code. She was lovable,” Somers explained.

However, Somers’ time on Three’s Company got an abrupt ending. She felt, rightly so, that she should get equally paid as the male leading actor, John Ritter, on the show, asking the producers for a 500 percent raise. Instead of the $30,000 she earned weekly, she wanted $150,000.

Instead of getting a raise, Suzanne Somers didn’t get paid at all. Why? She was fired.

“When I got fired, I thought, ‘I should never have asked. Why did I ask? Why did I think I could get paid what men are being paid? Who did I think I was?” she said.

“Rather than thinking, ‘Hey, c’mon. I have the highest demographics of any woman on television. I’m on the No. 1 show. I’m doing the heavy lifting, too,’ I went right into low self-esteem. I hid in my house for a year in absolute grief.”

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Somers got some other roles, including starring in She’s the Sheriff for 44 episodes, after Three’s Company, but her passion had shifted. Instead, she went on to release books and become an entrepreneur, earning herself a fortune. At the time of her passing, Suzanne was said to have a net worth of $100 million.

Suzanne Somers – cancer

But while Suzanne Somers created a business empire, there was one other severe thing that she was fighting.

In 2001, Somers revealed on Larry King Live that she had been receiving treatment for breast cancer for about a year. She explained that doctors discovered the cancer in April 2000 during a routine mammogram.

“In the last year I have been battling and surviving breast cancer, and I was in that clinic, and it all has to do with my breast cancer,” Somers told Larry King. “But it just, you know – I have had such an honest relationship with the American public. I mean, I have written books on alcoholism, and blending families, and they have been with me on my ups and downs and sides. And this was just one of those things – I think the most shocking words I ever thought, I never thought, I would ever in my life hear someone say to me that you have breast cancer. And it was – it has been so…”

Somers continued, “I was in such shock. I’m very strong, and I was in such shock because I have always taken care of myself, and, I just thought, it would never happen to me, but I think that is what everybody thinks; it won’t happen to them. And, what’s interesting is what you learn about yourself when you are diagnosed with cancer. And cancer is not for sissies.”

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While Somers said it took a couple of days to realize she had cancer, she decided to go “to war.” The actress gathered the doctors to get their views on how she would progress, and they said chemotherapy was the best way forward.

Suzanne Somers skipped chemotherapy for alternate treatments

However, Suzanne didn’t want to and turned to other alternatives.

 “As I’m hearing the common course of treatment, I – I don’t want to lose my hair, but that was the least of my worries was losing my hair. But I – I don’t like what that drug does to people. What I have seen… Chemotherapy. I have seen people under treatment, there is, you know, I know it helps people. I know it helps.”

“It does [work for breast cancer], but I decided to find alternative things to do,” she continued. “Because I have done so much work in my books about hormones, and that hormonal balance is why people gain or lose weight, and, it was my belief that a balanced environment of hormones prevents disease. And the first thing they said to me, we are taking of off all hormones. I said no, I’m going to continue taking my hormones, which is the first thing against the common course…” 

“I didn’t want chemotherapy.”

Later, it turned out that Suzannee Someres had already undergone cancer treatment while on Three’s Company. During her days portraying Chrissy Snow, Somers said she was treated for cancer three times.

“Even when I was Chrissy on Three’s Company, I had had cancer three times,” Somers told CBS News in 2020. 

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“They call it severe hyperplasia in your uterus. I didn’t make a big deal about it,” she continued, adding that she also had malignant melanoma in her back in her 30s.

Sadly, even though the cancer appeared to have left her body, it came back.

“She didn’t have that long to really do anything”

 On October 15, Suzanne Somers passed away aged 76. 

“Suzanne Somers passed away peacefully at home in the early morning hours of October 15th. She survived an aggressive form of breast cancer for over 23 years,” Somers’ longtime publicist R. Couri Hay wrote in a statement on behalf of the actress’ family.

“Suzanne was surrounded by her loving husband Alan, her son Bruce, and her immediate family,” the statement continued. “Her family was gathered to celebrate her 77th birthday on October 16th. Instead, they will celebrate her extraordinary life, and want to thank her millions of fans and followers who loved her dearly.”

Further, Hay told People, “There were all these plans, and she was always working and dreaming and had brought her family into the business, and the grandchildren and step-children were all part of the business,” adding that Suzanne was “very engaged right to the end.”

Earlier this year, Somers said they had “used the best alternative and conventional treatments to combat it.” Meanwhile, a source close to the late Three’s Company star painted another picture.

Somers’ friends tried to convince her to ditch her alternate approach to cancer treatment in favor of chemotherapy, the Daily Mail reported.

“She was advised by several people to consider the more conventional approach, but she did not listen,” a source close to Somers told the Daily Mail. “She really only found out that the cancer was back at the beginning of summer so she didn’t have that long to really do anything other than accept it. “

Suzanne Somers was criticized for talking about alternate cancer treatments

The source continued, “She has always rejected chemo, so it wasn’t even an option. Her friends and loved ones urged her to reconsider so many times during her cancer battles and at the end. She never regretted her decisions, and she was prepared to go. She believed that she lived a life beyond her wildest dreams and truly made a dent in the world.” 

Moreover, the source said that Suzanne realized the end was near and could say goodbye to her loved ones just days before passing.

“The timing of her passing was a blessing because her loved ones were there. “She was able to say her goodbyes to everyone she loved, which was so many people. She was accepting of her fate and went with dignity.”

While Suzanne Somers’ decided to go an alternative route with different kinds of treatments, she also spoke about it through many other platforms, including books and when appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Still, some remained very critical of her doing so.

In a piece for CNN in 2009, Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society and CNN health expert, stated that Suzanne Somers’ statements on alternative cancer treatments were risky and could have an effect on other people choosing not to go through with conventional treatments.

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“She is a wonderful actress, and I wish she would stick to her first chosen profession. I know some people will hear her message, follow her advice because of her celebrity status, and be harmed. Her medical advice may even cause death,” Brawley wrote.

Widower Alan Hamel talked about her last days

“Mind you, I am not critical of the concept of alternative and complementary medicine. When used wisely, it can be useful,” he added. “Indeed, open-mindedness to other ideas is how we advance conventional medicine. Today, conventional medicine has the extract of a tree bark called aspirin or the root of a plant called vincristine because of observations from those who practiced non-conventional medicine.”

Suzanne Somers passed away on October 15 in Palm Springs, California.

Just one day later, her widower, Alan Hamel, spoke to NBC about her last moments in life. He said he knew it was near in the days leading up to her passing and that she died peacefully.

“We were in bed together, and her breathing was erratic, and I had been talking to her for hours, he said. “There was no response except when I kissed her, she responded, and then around 5 o’clock in the morning, she was gone.”

Meanwhile, before she got worse, Hamel explained that she had spent six weeks with a specialist in Chicago and seemed to be doing better. The two for the first while he was hosting ABC’s The Anniversary Game, and Somers starred as. a “prize model.”

“She was eating and was, you know, taking her medicine,” he continued. “All of a sudden, she wasn’t responding, and she wasn’t eating, and she wasn’t taking her meds. As I know her so well, I thought, ‘I wonder if I should call 911?’ And I knew that she wouldn’t want that and that she did not want to go to a hospital.”

“I talked to her for hours every night, and I assumed she could hear me because her lips responded,” Alan Hamel added in the NBC interview. “Hopefully, she was understanding what I was saying.”

Suzanne Somers’ official cause of death revealed

Weeks have gone by since Suzanne Somers was laid to rest by her loved ones. It became known that cancer had returned, but the exact cause of death hadn’t been fully explained until now.

Fox News wrote that her death certificate revealed that there was no autopsy performed upon Somers’ death. Still, a biopsy was performed. Moreover, it stated that the Three’s Company star died in a “residence hospice” at her Palm Springs home.

As reported by USA Today, which obtained a copy of the death certificate, her official cause of death was breast cancer. Meanwhile, the cancer had also spread to her brain.

“Hypertension and hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluids in the brain, were also listed as conditions that contributed to Somers’ death,” the news outlet further reported.

If you enjoyed this article about Suzanne Somers, perhaps you’d be interested in reading what she had to say about her Three’s Company co-star Joyce DeWitt before her death.