Lucille Ball's Great-Granddaughter Dead at Age 31

Combined Shape

On Sept. 27, 31-year-old Desiree Anzalone — the great-granddaughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Sr. — passed away after battling breast cancer for years.

The young woman was initially diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at just 25, something that her mother, Julia Arnaz, told People is “rare, but it does happen.”

Anzalone went through chemotherapy and then a double mastectomy, and enjoyed remission for a while, but the cancer came back with a vengeance. By the time they found out it was back, she had stage 4 cancer and it had spread to her organs and bones.

Her mother noted that the timing of the diagnoses was odd, saying that the first diagnosis was “right after her birthday, right before breast cancer awareness month. And second time around, stage 4, found out again three years later, right after her birthday, right before breast cancer awareness month.”

“And then now, her final — going into God’s kingdom — right after her birthday, right before breast cancer awareness month,” she continued. “So it’s just odd how it happened every three years or so.”

CNN's Don Lemon Fails to Get Guest to Take 'Bait,' Instead Gets Contradicted on Slavery

Arnaz added that her daughter slipped away peacefully, though the experience was something she “wouldn’t wish” on her worst enemy.

“She probably would have been with us for a few more years — it was starting to spread a lot more, and the tumors were getting bigger — but we expected her to stay at least through the holidays,” Arnaz said.

“What went wrong is she kept getting fluid around her heart and then they kept doing surgeries and it would come back like two weeks later. And this time, they did the surgery and came back 12 hours later and [said], ‘You’ve got days, if hours.’ So that was really tough.”

“I was there before that happened. It was unimaginable.”

Her mother also said that Anzalone was trying to make people aware of the fact that breast cancer can strike even the very young. She wanted “to give awareness for young girls her age because this does happen,” according to Arnaz.

“And Desiree wanted to put awareness out for if you feel anything, just because you’re a certain age doesn’t mean that it can’t happen to somebody.”

“It’s just not talked about a lot. It’s usually people in their late 30s, 40s, 50s — not somebody at this age,” Arnaz said. “So that was something that she really wanted — to help other women like her. A preventative, really.”

Charity Will Pay Off Entire Mortgage for Family of Officer Who Was Killed in Line of Duty

While Anzalone boasted a famous lineage, she claimed to take after her great-grandfather more than her great-grandmother, a fact that viewers often liked to point out. When The Epoch Times posted an article in 2019 saying that Anzalone looked just like Lucille Ball, the young woman dealt with a lot of flak.

“Such a nice article wrote about me, and how Lucy and I share the same gumption in regards to my fight with stage 4 breast cancer and how proud she’d be of me,” Anzalone posted on Instagram.

“These comments are so ridiculous, and sad, like calm down people. I promise it’s going to be okay. No need to get so angry. Too many shallow human beings out there. I have acknowledged my entire life I do not resemble my great grandma, but rather have more of the Arnaz genes. So thank you all for stating the obvious.”

A photographer and creative, Anzalone also played piano and guitar, enjoyed writing songs and singing, and did some modeling as well.

Arnaz remembers her as special, beautiful and talented.

“She was so special. All our children are special, but this little girl was something else,” she said. “We were [best friends]. We are still.”

“She was so beautiful, just so so beautiful inside and out,” Arnaz added. “She really, really reminded me a lot of my grandmother, more so than I.”

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , ,
Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking