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‘Mom is gone’: Cher reveals family tragedy

Cher with her mother Georgia Holt. Holt died at the weekend, aged 96.

Cher with her mother Georgia Holt. Holt died at the weekend, aged 96. Photo: Getty

Singer Cher has confirmed the death of her mother, Georgia Holt, after a long illness.

“Mom is gone,” Cher wrote on Twitter to her four million followers at the weekend.

A rep for the Cher also confirmed Holt’s death to The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday (AEDT).

Holt, a former model, actress and singer-songwriter, was 96. No further details of her death were immediately available, although she had battled illnesses for several months.

In September, Cher told fans that her mother had been in hospital with pneumonia. The singer had been caring for her.

“Sorry I’ve been MIA. Mom’s been sick off and on. She just got out of hosp. She had pneumonia,” she wrote, before adding her mother’s health was improving.

It came after the 76-year-old Oscar-winning singer said she had been extremely “careful” not to contract COVID.

“We have a little bubble that we’ve had all this time,” she told People in 2020, while speaking about her mother’s health.

“We wear masks, and there’s not very many of us. It’s my sister, my brother-in-law, my mom, my assistant. And we stay far apart from each other.

“I have to be careful too because I have asthma. … I have different health problems.”

Holt was born Jackie Jean Crouch in Arkansas in 1926 to mother Lynda Inez Gulley, who was just 13 years old at the time. Her father was Roy Malloy Crouch, a 21-year-old baker and an alcoholic.

“When I was little I was a singer,” Holt said in a 2013 interview.

“When I was seven, my father used to put me up on top of the old-fashioned bars. They used to have sawdust on the floor and spittoons. It was during the Depression. We had no money and no food – well, we got beans, but that was it.”

She fled to Los Angeles in 1946, chasing fame. The then 19-year-old had just split from first husband, John Sarkisian, and was pregnant with Cher.

Holt went on to star in films and TV shows during the 1950s, including as a “Jacques Marcel” model on I Love Lucy.

In 1980 she recorded an album, Honky Tonk Woman, backed by members of Elvis Presley’s band. It included a duet with Cher, I’m Just Your Yesterday; covers of Presley hits and original songs.

“I know that a record company might want to sign me just because I’m Cher’s mother,” she told People magazine in 1978.

“I’d like to have a career, but I’m not going to be a novelty or a flash in the pan. A lot of people say I can do it.”

Holt was also the subject of Cher’s 2013 documentary film celebrating her life, Dear Mom, Love Cher.

Most recently, she appeared alongside grandson Chaz Bono as a guest star on season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Holt was married and divorced six times, including marrying Mr Sarkisian twice. Her other daughter is actor Georganne LaPiere.

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