Desiree S. Anzalone has died at just 31-years-old after a battle with breast cancer. News of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Sr.’s great-granddaughter’s passing was confirmed by her mother Julia Arnaz, 51. “Watching her slip away was just, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. No mother should have to watch that,” she said to People magazine. She added, “She was so special. All our children are special, but this little girl was something else…We were [best friends]. We are still.” Learn more about Desiree who lost her battle with cancer far too young.
1. She was born in Connecticut. Desiree was born Sept. 15, 1989 to Julia Arnaz — Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s granddaughter — and Mario Anzalone in Norwalk Connecticut. Her mother confirmed she “died peacefully” at Smilow Cancer Center on Sept. 27, 2020.
2. She was the great-granddaughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Sr. Lucille and Desi were beloved for their roles on the series I Love Lucy which aired on CBS from 1951 – 1957. In the series, Lucille would often scheme to try and get into show business alongside her husband Ricky, played by real-life husband Desi, who owned a New York City nightclub. Later, the couple appeared in a series of specials called The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show. The couple divorced in 1960. Lucille sadly passed away in 1989 at the age of 77, while Desi passed just three ears earlier at 69.
3. Desiree was diagnosed with cancer at 25. She was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, and received treatment including chemotherapy. Eventually, the young woman got a double mastectomy. Following a remission, her cancer returned at stage 4 two years ago and had spread to her bones, liver, and lungs. “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,” her mother Julia said to People. “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,” she tragically added.
4. She was a photographer. On Instagram, her account is branded Desiree Anzalone Photography with an attached Square Space website with links to her incredible work. Her site features mainly portraits. “[She] was a beautiful photographer,” her mother said, also revealing Desiree had many other talents. “She loved the ’60s and ’70s music. She was a model, she was a singer…She wrote songs. Very, very talented, smart, smart girl.”
5. She was engaged. Desiree was engaged to fiancé Chris Reynolds. “He did not leave her side, not for one minute…He was there with us when she passed. … He never left her side,” her mother said.