Hersha Parady, best known for her role on Little House on the Prairie, has died. She was 78.
The actress’s son, Jonathan Peverall, confirmed her death to The Hollywood Reporter. She died on Wednesday at Peverall’s home in Norfolk, Virginia. (PEOPLE has reached out to Peverall for further comment.)
Before her death, Parady had suffered from a brain tumor known as meningioma. According to the Mayo Clinic, meningioma is the most common type of tumor that forms in the head. It also occurs more frequently in women and is often discovered at older ages.
Parady’s son launched a GoFundMe campaign last month to aid with the cost of growing medical expenses. He hoped the fundraising efforts would succeed in “improving” her “quality of life and giving her the support she needs during this difficult time.” He also noted that the campaign was about “showing her that she is not alone in her fight.”
“This illness has robbed her of her strength, her memory, and sadly, her vibrant personality. She has become largely bedridden, and it is very difficult to see my Mom, who was once full of life and energy, now struggling with basic daily activities,” Peverall wrote at the time. “Upon seeing her condition during a recent visit to her home in Van Nuys, we decided to move her from Los Angeles to live with me and my family in Virginia, and while we are working to ensure she gets the medical help she needs, the costs associated with her care are mounting.”
“We’re looking at surgery to hopefully improve her condition, but the road to recovery is a long one, and the costs go beyond just medical,” he continued. “From moving expenses to in-home nursing care, to medical equipment and more, the financial burden is significant. And with a full time job and three kids, providing her with the level of care she needs is difficult. Rest assured, we are taking care of her to the best of our ability, and we will continue to do so, regardless of any contributions made here.”
In his last update on July 31, Peverall shared that Parady had a “successful” surgery. But while she was recovering in rehab, the actress developed pneumonia and was taken back to the hospital. She was then put on a ventilator in the ICU and “while there have been some moments of clarity, she has been unable to fully wake up.” An investigation into her condition was launched by the hospital’s medical team.
“We have been in constant communication with the doctors, gathering as much information as possible to make the best decisions for her care,” he said. “Despite these difficult times, we remain hopeful and ask that you do the same.”
Following Parady’s 1963 graduation from Berea High School, she acted at the Cleveland Play House and in regional theater. She eventually headed to Los Angeles, where she landed a role opposite Jon Voight in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire soon after her arrival. She then made her on-screen debut in an episode of Bearcats!
Parady joined Little House on the Prairie in its fourth season, which premiered in September 1977. The late actress was introduced as Alice Garvey alongside former NFL star Merlin Olsen, who played Alice’s husband Jonathan Garvey. She remained on the popular NBC series through season 6, when her character died in a fire.
Her many other TV projects included Kenan & Kel, The Phoenix and The Quest. She also appeared in films like The Break and The Babysitter’s Seduction.
Parady was married to producer John Peverall. In addition to her son, she is survived by her siblings Patty, Kenny and Bobby.