How did Erin Moran die? Her passing detailed

Erin Moran famously played Joanie Cunningham in the sitcom Happy Days. The series gave several actors their breakout roles, but for Moran, her appearance in Happy Days was the high point of her career. Moran grew from a teenager to a young lady with seemingly unlimited potential on the set of Happy Days

“It was so much fun with these guys,” Moran said on the Today show in 2008. “They made it better, they made it easier. I loved it. I had such a good time.”

Unfortunately, Moran’s career stagnated after her stint on Happy Days. She endured a difficult few years before she passed away on 22nd April 2017. 

Erin died due to complications of stage 4 cancer

On 22nd April 2017, authorities responded to a call about an unresponsive female. First responders found Erin Moran dead in her New Salisbury, Indiana, home. 

Following an autopsy, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office and the county coroner stated Moran died due to complications of stage 4 cancer. 

A statement from Steven Fleischmann, Erin’s second husband, posted on Scott Baio’s Facebook page, confirmed Erin had advanced squamous cell carcinoma. Steven said that several days after the couple celebrated their anniversary, Erin awoke to find a small blood stain on her pillowcase. The stain grew more prominent as the days progressed. 

“We went to an ENT who said they wanted to biopsy it,” Steven wrote. “It came back squamous cell carcinoma. She started radiation and chemo. Five days a week radiation and chemo only on Thursdays. We did that the whole time. It got so bad so fast.”

Nevertheless, Steven said Erin was happy and active. Steven wrote that Erin passed away as the couple drifted to sleep holding hands. “I woke up about a hour later still holding her hand and she was gone,” Fleischmann wrote, “she was just gone.”

Steven said the institute responsible for Erin’s care didn’t divulge the extent of Erin’s cancer. “ The coroner told me it was really, really bad,” Steven continued. “It had spread to her spleen, she had a lot of fluid in her lungs and part of her brain was infected.”

The coroner allegedly told Steven that specialized care wouldn’t have helped Erin. “He said it was best that she was with me and went in her sleep,” Steven wrote. 

Scott Baio initially suggested that alcohol and drug abuse caused Erin’s death

In the wake of Erin’s death, Scott Baio, her co-star on Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi, tweeted that Erin has a ‘contagious smile, warm heart, and animal loving soul.’

Baio later painted Erin in a different, unglamorous light, stating on WABC’s The Bernie & Sid Show that drug and alcohol abuse could have caused Erin’s death. At the time, the coroner hadn’t revealed that toxicology tests found no illegal narcotics in Erin’s system.

“My thing is, I feel bad because her whole life, she was troubled, could never find what made her happy and content,” Baio said. “For me, you do drugs or drink, you’re gonna die.” Baio suggested that Erin died because she didn’t take care of herself. 

Scott described Erin as an insecure person who ‘fell into this world of drugs and alcohol.’ He continued: “Again, I don’t know if that’s what killed her, I’m sure it was a culmination of years and years of doing it that might have had something to do with it. She just never found her way.”

Baio said he offered to help Erin a couple of times, but she turned him down. Scott faced intense backlash for his comments, forcing him to upload a statement alleging people misinterpreted his remarks. The actor defended his assertions, saying he made them before the coroner publicized Erin’s cause of death. Baio wrote:

“It seems every news outlet & tabloid wants to paint a different picture of me and of what really happened. They’re stating that I’m saying drugs caused her to die after it was reported stage 4 cancer. This is so wrong! Now I truly understand the meaning of ‘Fake News.’”

Baio urged people to stop vilifying him and claimed Erin’s death had affected him deeply. He concluded: “I’m a compassionate person. I’m very heartbroken over her passing, especially since it was cancer.”

Moran endured difficult final years plagued with homelessness and conflict

Moran and Steven reportedly moved to a trailer park in Indiana following the foreclosure of the California home in 2010. Two years later, Moran was evicted from the trailer park after a drunken fight with her mother-in-law. The couple lived in a Holiday Inn Express for a while as they searched for a residence. 

Financial relief came via a $65,000 payout from CBS settling a suit by Happy Days actors who filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the media outlet. Moran reportedly blew the money on alcohol and partying. 

Regardless of her lifestyle, the residents of New Salisbury remembered Moran as a friendly neighbor. “She was very friendly-like, I don’t know how to say it, a normal person,” Karen Scharrer, the co-owner of a local diner, told IndyStar. “She was really nice.”

Henry Winkley, Moran’s Happy Days co-star, tried to get her a part on the Netflix show Arrested Development, but Erin failed to land the role. “OH Erin,” Winkler tweeted, “now you will finally have the peace you wanted so badly here on earth. Rest in it serenely now.”

Spread the love