EXCLUSIVE: Suzanne Somers’ friends tried to convince her to ditch holistic approach to cancer treatment in favor of chemotherapy – but she had ‘no regrets’ as she enjoyed early birthday celebration with loved ones in days before her death
- Suzanne died aged 76 on Sunday surrounded by her loved ones
- The Three’s Company star was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000
- For the past two decades, she advocated for alternative forms of treatment
- READ MORE: Patrick Duffy mourns the death of his Step by Step costar
Suzanne Somers’ friends and family tried desperately to convince her to consider more conventional ways of treating her breast cancer when it returned this summer – but the late actress refused, insisting that she had ‘no regrets.’
The Three’s Company star died on Sunday just one day shy of her 77th birthday and 23 years after she was first diagnosed with the disease.
Suzanne, whose husband Alan Hamel, 87, was by her side when she passed in the early hours, had been a staunch advocate of alternative medications, including supplements and bioidentical hormones.
‘Suzanne chose not to do chemotherapy to treat her cancer and opted for a more holistic approach,’ a source close to her told DailyMail.com exclusively.
Suzanne Somers, pictured in 2000, ‘chose not to do chemotherapy’ prior to her death from cancer, instead she continued with her ‘more holistic approach’, according to an insider
Suzanne, with her husband Alan Hamel, 87, ‘refused to listen’ to those who suggested she use chemotherapy,’ the insider revealed, adding, ‘she was ready to go’
‘She was advised by several people to consider the more conventional approach, but she did not listen.
‘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.
‘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.’
They continued: ‘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.’
The source added that Suzanne had been able to say goodbye to loved ones, in the days leading up to her death.
‘The timing of her passing was a blessing because her loved ones were there,’ they said. ‘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.’
Alan, to whom she was married to for 46 years and together with for 55, recalled his wife’s final moments in an emotional interview.
The Three’s Company star, seen promoting her book A New Way To Age, was a huge advocate for alternative healing methods such as Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
‘We were in bed together and her breathing was erratic, and I had been talking to her for hours,’ he told the NBC News.
‘There was no response except when I kissed her, she responded, and then around five o’clock in the morning, she was gone.’
Suzanne is survived by son Bruce Somers Jr., 57, from a previous relationship, and her three granddaughters, Camelia, Violet and Daisy Hamel-Buffa.
Hamel also has two adult children — son Stephen and daughter Leslie — from his first marriage to Marilyn Hamel.
Suzanne, a New York Times bestselling author who wrote more than 25 books, announced she had cancer during an appearance on Larry King Live in 2001, telling the host: ‘Saying the words publicly out loud – “I have breast cancer” – rocked my soul.’
She initially underwent a lumpectomy and radiation combined with alternative medicine after refusing chemotherapy, and revealed she was cancer-free in 2007.
But in July, she announced that it had returned and she was ready to put on her ‘battle gear,’ adding: ‘I’m a fighter.’
Her cancer diagnoses over the years – she suffered three bouts during her time as Chrissy on Three’s Company – sparked an interest in alternative treatments to chemotherapy, and she also became a vocal advocate for Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT).
Earlier this year she claimed living a chemical-free life and taking BHRT had extended her life expectancy.
‘My doctors said that if I didn’t lead a chemical-free life, supported by bio-identical hormones, I would not likely be here today,’ she told Entertainment Tonight.
‘I am so grateful to my fans for all the loving wishes. That means so much to me.’
Suzanne had an incredible love story spanning half a century with Alan. They were together for 55 years – 46 of which they were married (pictured in 1978)
Suzanne was mom to one son, Bruce Somers, 57, who wrote this heartfelt and emotional tribute to his mom after her passing on Sunday
In 2006, she released Ageless: The Naked Truth About Bioidentical Hormones, in which she praised BHRT, suggesting that it offered a more natural way to alleviate menopausal symptoms.
BHRT uses processed hormones from plants which are designed to mimic those made in the body to alleviate symptoms of the menopause.
While some praised the treatment, others criticized Suzanne, claiming that her books lacked concrete scientific backing.
According to Breastancer.org: ‘Breast cancer risk appears to be higher with daily progesterone (continuous combination HRT) than with less frequent progesterone (sequential or cyclical combination HRT).
‘This increase in risk applies to bioidentical and natural hormone products as well as synthetic hormones.’
Suzanne previously revealed her 2000 diagnosis was her ‘wake-up call’ to overhaul her lifestyle and cleanse herself of chemicals.
Speaking to People in 2019, she said: ‘I just thought, “I’m going to win this my way, I’m going to change my life. And I’m going to eliminate as many chemicals from my life, my lifestyle and diet, as I can possibly consume.”
‘So that’s what I’ve done. There’s not one chemical in our house and you can feel it when you walk in.’
The actress, famed for the ThighMaster gadget, had been largely critical of chemotherapy and explored alternative treatments in her 2009 book Knockout: Interviews With Doctors Who Are Curing Cancer and How To Prevent Getting It In The First Place – sparking concern among the American Cancer Society.
Dr. Otis Brawley, the chief medical and scientific officer, said at the time: ‘I am very afraid that people are going to listen to her message and follow what she says and be harmed by it.
‘We use current treatments because they’ve been proven to prolong life. They’ve gone through a logical, scientific method of evaluation. I don’t know if Suzanne Somers even knows there IS a logical, scientific method.’
Speaking during the book promotion, Suzanne said: ‘Cancer’s an epidemic and yet we keep going back to the same old pot, because it’s all we’ve got. Well, this is a book about options.’
Suzanne and Alan have three granddaughters Daisy Hamel-Buffa (shown here), Violet and Camelia
Suzanne and Camelia in a sweet photo together prior to her death. The Three’s Company actress told her grandkids: ‘I’m a different kind of grandmother!’
Alan also has two adult children – son Stephen and daughter Leslie (pictured here) – from his first marriage to Marilyn Hamel
Suzanne previously described how Olivia Newton-John had taught her not to be afraid after she was diagnosed with cancer.
Olivia, who played Sandy in Grease, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and died last year.
‘There is a sisterhood that grows larger every year. It’s a sisterhood you never want to join but when allowed entry you find great comfort with other “sisters,”‘ she said.
‘Olivia provided great comfort for me when diagnosed 25 years ago. Her fight was my fight, as she won, I won.
‘She taught all of us so much through her bravery and “never give up” philosophy. We got strength through Olivia and her example of life.’
Suzanne’s death was confirmed in a statement by her publicist R. Couri Hay on Sunday.
‘Suzanne Somers passed away peacefully at home in the early morning hours of Oct. 15th,’ he said.
‘She survived an aggressive form of breast cancer for over 23 years,’ it went on to reveal.
‘Suzanne was surrounded by her loving husband Alan, her son Bruce, and her immediate family. Her family was gathered to celebrate her 77th birthday.
‘Instead, they will celebrate her extraordinary life, and want to thank her millions of fans and followers who loved her dearly.’
He added that a private family burial should take place sometime this week, with a memorial for the acting icon slated for an unspecified day in November.
The actress will be buried in a private ceremony later this week. Pictured, flowers around her Walk of Fame star on October 16
SOME OF SUZANNE’S BEST MOMENTS IN HOLLYWOOD
Somers played the mysterious blonde in a white Thunderbird car in the 1973 classic film American Graffiti from George Lucas.
Somers played the mysterious blonde in a white Thunderbird car in the 1973 classic film American Graffiti from George Lucas
She played a passenger on the first episode of The Love Boat.
She played a passenger on the first episode of The Love Boat in 1976
She made a splash as the ditzy but darling blonde beauty Chrissy Snow on the sitcom Three’s Company that was considered racy because a straight man (played by John Ritter) was living with two single women (Suzanne and Joyce De Witt).
John Ritter, Joyce Dewitt, Suzanne Somers Three’s Company – 1977
She had a guest starring role as a pinup in the ABC TV movie Ants! The star filmed the show in Qualicum Beach, Canada in 1977.
Here she is seen with nothing on under a beige sheet in a bed.
Somers appearing in the ABC tv movie Ants! in 1977
Somers promoting the Cerebral Palsy Telethon in Central Park 1978. She wore a pink bathing suit which won the attention of onlookers.
Somers promoting the Cerebral Palsy Telethon in Central Park 1978. She wore a pink bathing suit which won the attention of onlookers
The California native is seen here in a skimpy bikini for a segment on the popular late night show The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
On The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson for a skit as she wore a skimpy bikini
She took to doing bathing suit photo shoots on the beach in the late 1970s to boost her career.
Here she had on a strapless one piece with her hair in a side ponytail, the look of the day.
She had a toned figure which led to her being the spokesperson for ThighMaster which made a fortune.
Get ready to surf! She modeled swimsuits on the beach to show off her incredible shape
She made a name for herself with pinup photos with goofy hair styles. Here she is seen in a Three’s Company publicity photo.
In a beige workout outfit for a publicity shoot for her hit show Three’s Company
The beauty in 1980 on the episode of Three’s Company titled Lee Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother. Jack (Ritter) disapproved of his visiting brother’s relationship with Chrissy (Somers).
She was fired during season five when she asked for a big pay raise.
The show ran from 1977 until 1984.
Lee Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother was the name of this episode for season four in 1980. Jack (Ritter) disapproved of his visiting brother’s relationship with Chrissy (Somers)
In 1991 she was on the hit TV show Step By Step with costar Patrick Duffy of Dallas fame.
In 1991 she was on the show Step By Step with costar Patrick Duffy of Dallas fame. This episode was called Rules of the House and it aired on October 4, 1991
Bouquets of flowers placed at the Hollywood Walk of Fame star for the late actress
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