Betty White, whose television career spanned more than 80 years, died Dec. 31, 2021. She was 99.

“I truly never thought she was going to pass away," Witjas told The Associated Press. “She meant the world to me as a friend. She was the most positive person I've ever known.”

Witjas said White had been staying close to her Los Angeles home during the pandemic out of caution but had no diagnosed illness.

White, who continued to act late into her life, would have turned 100 on Jan. 17.

Considered to be a trailblazer of the small screen, White’s career was longer than any other female entertainer, having worked in the industry since 1939.

Known for her iconic sitcom roles on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "The Golden Girls," White is considered to be the first woman to create a television sitcom and also was a staple of many popular game shows of the 1960s, all of which helped give her the title of "first lady of television."

Throughout her career, White’s work earned her eight Emmy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, three American Comedy Awards and one Grammy Award.

She was the first woman to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host for "Just Men!" in 1983.