11:05 AM EDT 03/19/2015
Originally posted 06/06/2013 01:00PM
The silver screen has long boasted many great beauties, but only one was ever worthy of the title "America's Mermaid." Esther Williams, MGM's great synchronized swimming star and box-office attraction of the '40s and '50s, has died. She was 91.
The star's publicist, Harlan Boll, told the Associated Press she died in her sleep Thursday.
Relatively removed from the public eye since the publication of her 1999 memoir, The Million Dollar Mermaid, Williams suffered some health setbacks in the past several years. In 2001, she fractured her ankle (which then became infected, necessitating the use of a walker) after a spill down some stairs in her Beverly Hills home. Then, in 2007, she suffered a stroke.
Top 5 Most Voted Stories
Daphne Oz Goes on Family Beach Outing One Month After Giving Birth
VIDEO: Meet Devina Keswani, The First Grader Transitioning From Male to Female
Kentucky Woman Contracts an Infection, Undergoes Emergency Surgery – Likely Due to the Glitter Hair Tie She Wore on Her Wrist
Gia Giudice and Her Sisters Celebrate First Thanksgiving Without Mom Teresa, Last with Dad Joe
Rock Hudson's 'True Love' Shares Touching Message 30 Years After the Actor's Death: 'I Have Felt So Guilty About Not Being There for Him'
Top 10 News Categories
The most buzzed about stars this minute!
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
More On PEOPLE.com
Got a News Tip?
Send it to our People.com editors!