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Walt Disney's daughter, Diane Disney Miller, dies at age 79

Frank Gehry, who designed the Walt Disney Concert Hall, arrives for the opening night of the $274 million music facility with Diane Disney M
Frank Gehry, who designed the Walt Disney Concert Hall, arrives for the opening night of the $274 million music facility with Diane Disney M

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Diane Disney Miller, philanthropist and daughter of cartoon and theme park pioneer Walt Disney, died on Tuesday in California. She was 79.

Miller died in the northern California wine town of Napa from injuries sustained in a fall, the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco said.

Walt Disney Co Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said the entertainment group founded by brothers Walt and Roy Disney in 1923 was "deeply saddened by the loss."

"As the beloved daughter of Walt Disney and one of his inspirations for creating Disneyland, she holds a special place in the history of the Walt Disney Company and in the hearts of fans everywhere," Iger said in a statement.

Disney Miller was born in 1933 and married professional football player Ron Miller in 1954. He went on to serve as the company's president in 1978 and chief executive a few years later.

Ron Miller was ousted from the company in 1984, paving the way for the new executive team of Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Frank Wells, who helped transform a sleepy theme park and animation company into a entertainment powerhouse with hit movies, TV shows and new theme park attractions in Orlando, Florida, and Paris.

The couple purchased a vineyard in Napa Valley in 1976 and have operated a collection of vineyards under the name Silverado Vineyards.

She was also instrumental in the construction of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the musical venue designed by architect Frank Gehry in downtown Los Angeles.

Miller's adopted sister, Sharon Mae Disney, died in 1993. In addition to her husband, she is survived by seven children, 13 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Mary Milliken and Lisa Shumaker)

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