People's paean of praise reminds us that although Mousketeer Annette began in 1987 fighting multiple sclerosis, she stayed feisty and brave through it all. "She was so feisty and brave," said actress Eva LaRue, who befriended Funicello when she played her in the 1995 TV movie "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes."
Eva added, "She was able to keep her sweet, innocent, girl-next-door core to the end."
Paul Anka said her long battle was as inspiring as her career. He dated her and wrote his classic song "Puppy Love" about Annette. She never wanted pity. Her life stretched from 1942 to April 8, 2013, when she was 70. Her children Gina, Jack, Jr. and Jason Gilardy were by her side when she succumbed to complications from MS in the Bakersfield (CA) Hospital.
Gina said, "She's on her toes dancing in heaven. No more MS."
At the end she was cared for by her second husband, Glen Holt, a racehorse breeder. Anka also said, "By discussing her MS with courage and candor, she showed the best side of herself."
The diminutive Disney star never lost her Mouseketeer spirit.