Ruth Buzzi was born to make people laugh. “My singular agendum was to help people enjoy their lives through laughter,” the beloved funnywoman told Closer in 2015.

After recently suffering a series of strokes, Ruth, 86, is “bedridden and incapacitated” but still able to treat her new struggle with humor. “She wants you to know she is not in pain and is aware you are sending your best wishes her way,” shares her husband of 43 years, Kent Perkins, who says Ruth is handling her situation “bravely and still with humor, believe it or not…. She can still speak and understand, she still recognizes all her friends and loved ones.”

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The Rhode Island–born comedienne helped make Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In a sensation from 1968 to 1973 playing wacky characters like crabby, purse-wielding Gladys Ormphby and Busy-Buzzi, a showbiz gossip columnist. “It was fun being on top of the heap for quite a while,” said Ruth, who added that her groundbreaking sketch comedy was “so very tame” compared to TV today.

Ruth also amassed a long list of guest-starring roles, enjoyed success as a voiceover actor, and made young viewers laugh playing Suzie Kabloozie on Sesame Street from 1993 to 2006. She announced her retirement from performing in 2021.

For many years, Ruth and Kent have called a ranch in North Texas home. “Instead of listening to managers and agents, I get to hear cows mooing, roosters crowing and the pitter-patter of little duck feet down by our beautiful lake here at the ranch,” Ruth gushed to Closer. “By the way, raising ducks isn’t necessarily what it’s quacked up to be!”

Kent says that he’s been reading fans’ get-well wishes to Ruth. “She thanks you for being her friend,” he shares. “Whatever happens, please know you have always been loved right back.”