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Barbara Walters Facing Health Crisis at Age 88 (EXCLUSIVE)

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At a party marking her 2014 retirement, Barbara Walters didn't sound like she was going away anytime soon. "I've had the most amazing career,” she told a roomful of friends and ABC colleagues in NYC. "But...but...who knows what the future brings?"

Sadly, it seems the present has brought health problems for Barbara, 88, and she’s no longer able to get around the way she used to. "She’s struggling — her walking is difficult because of her hips, and she doesn’t have the strength she did," an insider tells Closer of her health update. "As she tells her friends, ‘It’s the most challenging time of my life.'" (Barbara’s publicist denies the star has health issues.)

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Of course, Barbara overcame many other obstacles in the past. "She’s most proud of the fact she was a trailblazer for women in the workplace," the insider says of the former Today and ABC News anchor and creator co-host of The View. "She went where no woman went before in journalism and TV."

Some of the female reporters who followed in her path, like Lesley Stahl and Cynthia McFadden, visit Barbara at her NYC apartment, where she has full-time assistance. Barbara also spends time with daughter Jackie Danforth, 49, who has battled substance-abuse issues. "They’ve had a tough road," notes the insider. "But as Barbara says, 'We both grew up and forgave each other,' so that relationship, often estranged in the past, is a source of comfort now."

And, yes, she still watches The View. Reveals the insider, "She rolls her eyes at some of the ladies' comments." Sounds like the Barbara we all know and love!

For more on your favorite stars, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for exclusive news!

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