The beloved American television icon's longtime representative confirmed her death on Wednesday (25Jan17), after reports emerged she was fighting for her life in a Connecticut hospital, and family members had arrived to say their goodbyes.

“Today, beloved icon, Mary Tyler Moore, passed away at the age of 80 in the company of friends and her loving husband of over 33 years, Dr. S. Robert Levine," spokesperson Mara Buxbaum revealed in a statement issued to the media. "A groundbreaking actress, producer, and passionate advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Mary will be remembered as a fearless visionary who turned the world on with her smile."

Mary had been suffering from a number of health issues in recent years, including an ongoing battle with diabetes. She also underwent brain surgery in 2011.

A multiple Emmy Award winner, she championed diabetes awareness as chairman of JDRF and she was also a powerful advocate for animal rights. She teamed up with her friend Bernadette Peters to co-found charity Broadway Barks in 1999, and since the inception of the organisation, an annual pet adoption event has been held every July in New York City to help homeless cats and dogs find homes. Mary also fought to make the Big Apple a no-kill zone for street animals, and her efforts helped launch death-free shelters across the city.

Moore's formidable career in Hollywood took off over 50 years ago, when she became a household name portraying character Laura Petrie on classic U.S. sitcom The DICk Van Dyke Show from 1961 to 1966. She then moved on to star in her namesake programme The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which broadcast on the small screen from 1970 to 1977.

She was also a film star, and her work in 1980 drama Ordinary People earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

Flowers have been placed on her Hollywood Walk of Fame star, where fans are expected to gather this evening to pay their respects to the actress.

Mary, who was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1986, penned two memoirs and married three times. Her only son, Richard, from her first marriage to Richard Meeker, died from an accidental gunshot in 1980.