Rosie O'Donnell's Father, Edward Joseph O'Donnell, Dies at 81

by Emily Krauser 3:55 PM PDT, August 23, 2015
Playing Rosie O'Donnell's Father, Edward Joseph O'Donnell, Dies at 81

Rosie O'Donnell's father, Edward Joseph O'Donnell, died of cancer on Sunday. He was 81.

Edward originally immigrated from Ireland and worked as an electrical engineer on New York's Long Island after arriving in the United States. He raised his five children after his wife, Roseanne Teresa Murtha, passed away in 1973 from breast cancer.

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Rosie has admitted to having a very strained relationship with Edward after her mother’s death, but the 53-year-old comedian opened up to CNN's Piers Morgan in 2012 about finally forgiving him and moving on from their past, explaining that he had "a very tough childhood" and "had a lot of problems to deal with."

"There are some unforgivable things I think that as a child, the statute of limitations has to wear off," she told Piers. "You get to be 50 years old, and you can't be still angry at what your father did in 1970."

Her rep confirmed the sad news, which comes at the end of an already difficult week for Rosie.

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Last Tuesday, she reported her 17-year-old daughter, Chelsea, missing, suspecting she had run away about a week earlier. Chelsea was found later that evening about 150 miles away in central New Jersey. The man she was found with, Stephen Sheerer, was later arrested and charged with child endangerment and communication of obscenity.