PHOENIX - Denise Nickerson, who starred as the gun-snapping Violet Beauregarde in the 1971 film, "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," has died at 62 after being taken off life support Tuesday, her family said.
“She’s gone,” was the message in a Facebook post early Thursday by her son Josh and his wife, Jasmine.
Nickerson suffered a "major medical emergency" at home Monday that caused her to be admitted to a Colorado hospital's intensive care unit. Nickerson had suffered a severe stroke in June 2018.
“They just took off all the equipment. None of it was helping, but making her only more uncomfortable. We're telling her it's OK to let go," her family wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.
According to the family's GoFundMe page, Nickerson, "got into her medicines and took as much as she could" while Josh and Jasmine were away at a doctor's appointment. Josh reportedly stopped his mother and brought her to an emergency room, where her condition got worse.
"She’s had seizures this morning and is in pulmonary and respiratory distress. The doctors have found that she aspirated and has developed pneumonia,” Jasmine shared on Facebook. "They have upped her oxygen. She’s under a DNR order so they aren’t putting her on a ventilator or feeding tube."
Jasmine wrote later Tuesday that Nickerson's condition had worsened and she was unable to breathe on her own, saying the former actress was in a "coma-like state." Jasmine also asked for prayers for her husband, who has "never really experienced a major loss like this."
In the 1971 “Willy Wonka” adaptation starring Gene Wilder, Nickerson played one of the spoiled children who wins a tour of the chocolate factory. An avid gum-chewer, she steals an experimental piece from Wonka’s factory that leads to her blowing up like a giant blueberry.
Her career also included roles on “The Brady Bunch,” "Dark Shadows” and “The Electric Company.” She left the industry in 1978 to pursue nursing, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The family is using their Go Fund Me page to fulfill Nickerson's final wish to be cremated and have her ashes made into a piece of glass art.
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