Maria von Trapp, the last remaining member of the original seven von Trapp children, died Tuesday night at 99 years old. Maria and her family’s story inspired one of the most famous musicals of all time: The Sound of Music. Her half-brother Johannes confirmed her death on Saturday.
Maria outlived most of her siblings, which surprised many who knew the von Trapps. Growing up, she suffered from a severe disease and had a weak heart. Her mother, Agathe von Trapp, died from the scarlet fever in 1922. Maria also developed this disease, which resulted in her needing a home tutor. Maria Augusta-Kutschera von Trapp was hired to tutor Maria and her siblings. She eventually married their father, Georg von Trapp.
Maria von Trapp was the third oldest child of Agathe and Georg, and the second eldest daughter. Her six siblings are Rupert, Agathe, Werner, Hedwig, Johanna, and Martina, and her three half-siblings are Johannes, Eleonore, and Rosemarie. When the family fled the Nazi-occupied Austria, they moved to the United States in 1938.
Maria Augusta-Kutschera von Trapp introduced the world to the von Trapp family with her book entitled The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. This book inspired two German films along with The Sound of Music. The musical was revived and broadcasted on NBC in 2013; Carrie Underwood starred. Her performance received mixed reviews, and the von Trapp grandchildren controversially expressed dissatisfaction with her taking on the role made famous by Julie Andrews.
Maria lived her final days in Stowe, Vermont. She never married and spent her life serving as a lay missionary in Papua, New Guinea.
Her half-brother, and the youngest von Trapp, Johannes, said this upon his sister’s death:
“Thank you for your thoughts. Maria had a wonderful life and while we will miss her, the memories of her will live on.”
Many used Twitter to mourn her death and appreciate her legacy.
The last surviving von Trapp – Maria von Trapp (portrayed as Louisa in the film) – has died aged 99 :”( RIP xxx
— Kara Grimes (@MissKaraLouise) February 23, 2014
R.I.P Maria von Trapp (portrayed as Louisa in the musical), the last of the Sound of Music family to pass, aged 99. pic.twitter.com/tIio4syIgU
— Stagey Snob (@StageySnob) February 23, 2014
Maria von trapp says adieu, to yeu and yeu and yeu
— russ06795 (@russ06795) February 23, 2014
Image via The Sound of Music, Facebook