George's Tearful Farewell to Beloved Aunt Rosemary

The National Enquirer

Michael Glynn, Alan Smith and Patricia Shipp

July 16, 2002

Beloved Music legend Rosemary Clooney, 74, passed away peacefuly of lung cancer at her home on June 29 -- and at her side was her beloved nephew, actor George Clooney.

"There were tears in his eyes as he held her hand and said goodbye," an insider told The ENQUIRER. "It was heartbreaking for him as this once-feisty aunt of his, drained of life and connected to an oxygen tank, gasped her last breath and her spirit left the room.

"It was she who had first nurtured him, encouraged him, gave him shelter when he came to Hollywood seeking fame and fortune. They thought the world of each other."

Also gathered at her bedside were the singer's immediate family, including her five children from her marriage to actor Jose Ferrer -- Miguel, Maria, Gabriel, Monsita and Rafael -- and her husband Dante DiPaolo, whom she married in 1997.

Clooney had undergone surgery for lung cancer on January 11 at the Mayo Clinic in Mennesota and the upper lobe of her left lung had been removed. Doctors believed her cancer was under control when they sent her home.

Then in early June, doctors found that Clooney's cancer had recurred. She had beenin serious condition after her recent cancer relapse, Rosemary's spokeswoman Linda Dozoretz told The ENQUIRER, but no one expected her to go so quickly.

"It was a shock to everyone," Dozoretz said. "She took a sudden turn for the worse. Fortunately, all of her kids and most of her grandkids managed to be there at the end."

Clooney -- who became famous after her 1951 hit song "Come On-A My House" -- knew she was dying, but kept up a brave front to the end. Now fans all over the country are mourning her passing.

Among her grieving friends was Sal Scognamillo, chef of Clooney's favorite New York restaurant Patsy's.

"Rosemary had been coming here since 1948," Scognamillo, author of the new "Patsy's Cookbook," told The ENQUIRER. "Back then things were rough for her. She was living from paycheck to paycheck, but my grandfather told her not to worry, she could pay him when she got money.

"Even at the height of her fame, she never forgot it."