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98-year-old baking sensation dies after lung infection, COVID-19 diagnosis

Lucy Pollock went viral for videos of herself baking family-friendly recipes during the pandemic.
Pollock appeared on TODAY on Wednesday in a prerecorded segment to share her baking tips.
Pollock appeared on TODAY on Wednesday in a prerecorded segment to share her baking tips.TODAY

Lucy Pollock, a 98-year-old baker who recently gained popularity for her "Baking with Lucy" videos on Facebook, passed away early Sunday morning, according to an emotional video from her daughter Mary Ellen Raneri.

In the ten-minute video, Raneri said that her mother had had a lung infection and had been diagnosed with COVID-19 before her death. Pollock appeared on TODAY on Wednesday in a prerecorded segment to share her baking tips.

"The beautiful, lovely Lucy, talented woman and amazing mother, passed away last night at 3 in the morning," Raneri said in the video. "It was very unexpected. It was due to a lung infection and also, she tested positive for COVID, so it's quite an eye-opener for us and for everybody, and it's kind of ironic that what she struggled so hard to help people with eventually ended up hurting her."

Raneri explained that Pollock had been hospitalized on Friday and had appeared to be doing better on Saturday, but her condition worsened on Sunday.

"We got a call from the staff at the hospital, who have been very kind to us, and I actually got to go in and I got to see her and I got to tell her how much I loved her, and I got to sing 'You Are My Sunshine,' because she loved that song," Raneri explained. "She closed her eyes, she looked really happy, and she was at peace."

Raneri told fans and followers that her mother had "loved" her audience "so much" and said that the baking show had given her "a second chance to feel useful" and "like a contributing person."

"I think, after my father passed away, she was in a dark place for a while, and she didn't feel that," Raneri explained. "All of you followers are so amazing and so wonderful and you gave her a new life and I'm grateful to you for that. She used to spend hours reading and re-reading all your messages ... She displayed everything over by her armchair. Every apron, every card, it all had a special place for Lucy."

Before her death, Raneri and Pollock had been working on a cookbook of Powell's favorite recipes, like apple crisp and applesauce cake. While the project will be delayed because of Powell's death, Raneri was sure to reassure fans that it will still be published.

"This was her big baby," Raneri said. "We're going through with her wish."

Raneri said she will also still share some of her mother's recipes on the Facebook page.

"I'm not Lucy, and I'm not going to try to be," Raneri said.

Raneri also asked that any fans or followers donate to Helping Hearts and Healing Tails, an animal charity, in lieu of sending flowers or cards.

"I feel like my heart is breaking right now, but I wanted to tell everybody's that I think, right now, she's in a really good place, and I'm going to go with that," she said. "I want you all to send her lots of love and prayers. ... We love you. And please, you keep baking and you keep those eggs at room temperature, OK? And you knead that dough, because Lucy’s still up there watching."