Details of death: Died of leptomeningeal carcinomatosis at the age of 80. "I have been told by doctors to put Val in Hospice care and I can't [because of our 40 years of shared commitment to each other] and I won't because of the fantastic good deeds she has graced us with while she's been here on earth", Cacciotti wrote on Facebook.
In 2009, Harper had a cancerous tumor removed from her lung, and in early 2013, doctors told her the cancer had spread to areas surrounding the brain and that she probably wouldn't make it through the spring.
A statement from Harper's husband Tony Cacciotti was posted on Twitter by their daughter, actress Cristina Cacciotti.
The producers lost on having Mary Richards divorced (instead, she had been dumped by her long-time boyfriend).
It wasn't the first time Harper had battled her bosses for recognition.
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Harper's medical expenses proved almost unbearable, leading her family to resort to crowdfunding to pay for her cancer treatments and care. While she was born in NY, the family moved around a lot due to her father's job.
In 1970, Harper got her big break with a supporting role on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". She appeared regularly on television for more than 30 years, as well as in a dozen films.
As the blunt, self-deprecating Rhoda, Harper created one of the most beloved sitcom characters of the 1970s. She was awarded $1.4 million compensation plus profit participation in the show (which continued without Harper until 1991).
Harper also recalled not being quite onboard with Rhoda getting her own show when the idea was first presented to her. She appeared on several episodes of The Simpsons, as recently as previous year, as well as the short film My Mom And The Girl.
Her memoir I, Rhoda, was released in January 2013.
The actress eventually returned to the stage in 2008 and to Broadway in 2010 as actress Tallulah Bankhead in a production of Looped.
Her husband of 32 years, Tony Cacciotti, wrote on her Facebook page last month that he would not put her in hospice care.
She was a longtime activist who advocated for the Equal Rights Amendment and championed various charities.