Julia Ruth Stevens, the last living child of baseball legend Babe Ruth, has died at the age of 102.
Her family wrote in a Facebook post that Stevens passed away after a short battle with an illness at a Las Vegas nursing home on Saturday. The family did not elaborate on her condition.
“It’s with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to Julia Ruth Stevens who passed away early in the morning of March 9th after a short illness,” the post read. “Julia was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother who lived a wonderful, full life during the 102 years she was with us.”
Julia was adopted by Ruth after he wed her mother, Claire, in 1929. Julia and Claire moved to New York City nine years prior from Athens, Georgia, and Claire worked as a model and Broadway extra. She was introduced to Ruth by a mutual friend, "and the rest, as they say, is history," Stevens' family wrote on Saturday.
Julia was the second adopted child of Ruth's - his other daughter, Dorothy, was his biological child, but he and his wife Helen adopted her to conceal the fact that she was born out of Ruth's affair with another woman - Juanita Jennings. Dorothy died in 1989.
Julia called Ruth "daddy" even into the latest years of her life and often reflected on the time they spent at their home on Manhattan's Upper West Side.
The opportunity to travel the world with Babe Ruth and her mother was one of Julia's fondest memories of the sports icon. In particular, she loved the "'round the world" tour on which they embarked in 1934, including travels through Japan with her family to watch 15 exhibition baseball games. Known as the "Great Bambino," Ruth established the record for the most home runs in MLB history at the time, having hit 714 during his 22-season career. His transition from the Red Sox to the Yankees is what ignited the now-infamous rivalry between the two teams.
Julia Ruth Stevens was married three times. She spent the last 49 years married to Brent Stevens, a poultry farmer, which earned her the nickname in their New Hampshire community as "the egg lady."
In the later years of her life, she took on the role as a Babe Ruth ambassador, representing her father's legacy at events nationwide.
She is survived by her son, Tom, two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.