When she announced her diagnosis, she admitted that she was first diagnosed with the pancreatic cancer seven years earlier, but was able to go into remission after chemotherapy treatments without the public knowing.
The actress passed away in her home in Los Angeles, surrounded by family, according to the publicist, who did not provide a cause of death.
Charlotte Rae, who played a wise and patient housemother to a brood of teenage girls on the long-running sitcom "The Facts of Life" during a career that encompassed many other TV roles as well as stage and film appearances, has died.
"I wanted to be a serious actress and do all the classics", Rae told the Sun-Times in 1989. "I love life. I've had a wonderful one already." she continued.
"The Facts of Life" debuted in 1979 and centered around Mrs. Garrett's relationship with a group of girls she met in the season 1 finale of "Diff'rent Strokes". "I don't want her to be Polly Perfect, because she must have human failings and make mistakes". "I've had a great life, but I have so many wonderful things happening".
Rae also wrote about the grief of losing her son Andy, who had autism and epilepsy and died of a heart attack in his mid-40s.
She said in a statement at the time, 'Last Monday, I found out I have bone cancer.
Rae gained fame on TV but she made her name as a thespian in the 1950s in such stage in roles ranging from "The Threepenny Opera" to "Li'l Abner".
She received Tony nominations in 1966 for "Pickwick" and in 1969 for "Morning, Noon and Night".
Charlotte got her start in show biz through radio and theater, and broke into television acting on vehicle 53, Where Are You?
In 2005, at age 79, she appeared in a new comedy, "Leading Ladies", at Ford's Theater in Washington. Her ex-husband, composer John Strauss, died in 2011 after a battle with Parkinson's.
She is survived by a sister, her son Larry, three grandchildren and a great-grandchild.