Maria von Trapp, the last surviving child of the singing family which served as inspiration behind "The Sound of Music", has passed away. She was 99. Maria's half-brother, Johannes von Trapp, told the Associated Press that the member of Trapp Family Singers passed away on Tuesday, February 18 at her home in Vermont from natural causes.
"She was a lovely woman who was one of the few truly good people. There wasn't a mean or miserable bone in her body. I think everyone who knew her would agree with that. Thank you for your thoughts. Maria had a wonderful life and while we will miss her, the memories of her will live on," he said in a statement.
Marianne Dorfer, a family friend who runs the von Trapp Villa Hotel in Salzburg, Austria, additionally told Austrian Times, "It was a surprise that she was the one in the family to live the longest because ever since she was a child she suffered from a weak heart. It was the fact that she suffered from this that her father decided to hire Maria von Trapp to teach her and her brothers and sisters. That of course then led to one of the most remarkable musical partnerships of the last century."
Maria was Capt. Georg von Trapp and Agathe Whitehead's second-eldest daughter. The pair had six other children together. Georg married Maria Kutschera in 1927 after Agathe passed away in 1922. They went on to have three children together.
The family fled from Nazi in 1938 and later toured in various places as a family choir. "Sometimes our house must have sounded like a musical conservatory. You could hear us practice piano, violin, guitar, cello, clarinet, accordion, and later, recorders. We would gather in the evenings to play Viennese folksongs on our instruments with Father leading on the violin," Maria wrote in an autobiography posted on the Trapp Family Lodge's website.
The family's story inspired the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. The 1965 movie, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, bagged five Academy Awards including Best Picture.