After more than two years of battling ampullary cancer, Karen Black has finally succumbed to the disease. The "Easy Rider" and "Five Easy Pieces" star died Thursday, August 8 at West Hills Hospital. She was 74 years old.
"It is with great sadness that I have to report that my wife and best friend, Karen Black has just passed away, only a few minutes ago," Black's husband of 25 years, Stephen Eckelberry, announced on Facebook. "Thank you all for all your prayers and love, they meant so much to her as they did to me."
Her representative additionally confirmed the sad news, telling E! News, "She was an extraordinary human being in every area of her life."
Black rose to prominent in the late 1960s and 1970s through her roles in independent movies like "Easy Rider", "Five Easy Pieces" and "Nashville". She landed a role as a kidnapper in what turned out to be Alfred Hitchcock's last film, "Family Plot".
She later took a sharp turn by starring in horror films, namely "Burnt Offerings", "Children of the Night" and "Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering". During her career that spanned more than five decades, she earned two Golden Globe Awards (out of three nominations) and an Academy Award nomination among other honors.
Black was diagnosed with ampullary cancer in November 2010 and had one-third of her pancreas removed. In April this year, she and her husband raised more than $60,000 through a crowd-sourcing website to pay for an experimental treatment in Europe. She, however, never flew to Europe to get the treatment because of her declining health.
The actress, screenwriter, singer, and songwriter was married four times. Her marriages with Charles Black, actor Robert Burton and writer L.M. (Kit) Carson ended in divorce. She tied the knot with Eckelberry in 1987 and they adopted a daughter, Celine, together. She's also survived by son Hunter Carson, daughter Diane Koehnemann Bay, sister Gail Brown, brother Peter Ziegler and grandchildren.