Carol Burnett on losing youngest daughter Carrie Hamilton in 2002: 'I think of her every day'

Carol Burnett is opening up about the 2002 loss of her youngest daughter, Carrie Hamilton, who died of cancer at the age of 38.

The legendary performer spoke to people about her actress daughter's heartbreaking passing, which happened after cancer spread from her lungs to her brain.

"I think of her every day," the 85-year-old television star told People. "She never leaves me. I just feel her."

"You don't get over it, but you cope," Burnett went on. "What else can you do? When Carrie died, I didn't want to get out of bed for a while, but I had a play to finish that we started that Hal Prince was going to direct. I owed it to Carrie, and I owed it to Hal."

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When the play, called "Hollywood Arms," was about to debut, a few telling signs appeared that told Burnett that Carrie was still with her in spirit.

See photos of Carole Burnett and Carrie Hamilton together:

21 PHOTOS
Carol Burnett and late daughter Carrie Hamilton together
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Carol Burnett and late daughter Carrie Hamilton together
Joe Hamilton, Carrie Hamilton and Carol Burnett during 36th Annual Golden Globe Awards at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 23: Comedienne Carol Burnett, (left) and her daughter Carrie Hamilton (center) join Dinah Shore for the taping of the 'Dinah and Friends' show on October 23, 1979 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joan Adlen/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 14: Carrie Hamilton and Carol Burnett (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 17: Carrie and Erin Hamilton with mother Carol Burnett (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 17: Carol Burnett and Carrie Hamilton (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - CIRCA 1983: Carol Burnett with daughter Carrie Hamilton circa 1983 in New York City. (Photo by PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images)
Carrie Hamilton and Carol Burnett during Kennedy Center Honors - January 1, 1983 at Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Washington D.C., United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Carol Burnett and Daughter Carrie Hamilton during Kennedy Center Honors - January 1, 1983 at Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 01: Carol Burnett and Carrie Hamilton (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Carol Burnett and Carrie Hamilton during Board of Trustees Dinner - December 03, 1983 at State Department in Washington D.C., Washington D.C., United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Carol Burnett and Carrie Hamilton during Yves Saint Laurent Fashion Retrospective - December 5, 1983 at Metropolitian Museum of Art in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
(L-R) Actress Carrie Hamilton and mother, actress Carol Burnett. (Photo by Kevin Winter/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Carol Burnett and Carrie Hamilton during AFI Lifetime Achievement Award to Billy Wilder at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Jody Hamilton, Carol Burnett and Carrie Hamilton during 5th Annual Mother-Daughter Fashion Show - March 27, 1986 at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Carrie Hamilton, Carol Burnett and Jody Hamilton during 5th Annual Mother-Daughter Fashion Show - March 27, 1986 at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 5: Carrie Hamilton and Carol Burnett (daughter and mother) in a gallery portrait session. Photo session conducted during filming of the made-for-TV movie 'Hostage.' Image dated November 5, 1987. (Photo by Tony Esparza/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 5: Carrie Hamilton and Carol Burnett (daughter and mother) in a gallery portrait session. Photo session conducted during filming of the made-for-TV movie 'Hostage.' Image dated November 5, 1987. (Photo by Tony Esparza/CBS via Getty Images)
Carol Burnett and Carrie Hamilton during Birthday Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald Hosted by the Society of Singers - April 28, 1989 at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Carrie Hamilton and Carol Burnett during 34th Annual Thalians Ball at Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Carol Burnett (C) celebrating her opening night in Broadway play Moon Over Buffalo w. daughters Carrie (L) & Jodie Hamilton. (Photo by Robin Platzer/Twin Images/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Carrie Hamilton, Carol Burnett and Jody Hamilton during Museum of Television and Radio Opening - March 17, 1999 at Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
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"I got on a plane and said a little prayer to Carrie, and said, 'I've got to do this alone. Don't leave me alone. Give me a sign that you're with me,'" Burnett recalled. When she arrived at her New York hotel, there was a bouquet of birds of paradise flowers in her room, which was "Carrie's favorite flower."

"She had one tattooed on her right shoulder," she explained to People. "Then at dinner the maître d’ gave us a bottle of Champagne, and the label said 'Louise.' That was Carrie's middle name. Then it rained on opening night. Carrie and I were nuts for the rain."

When Carrie was still alive, Burnett recalls her daughter exhibiting some of the same characteristics as she did.

"She was very interested in people," the comic said. "She never met a stranger. I think it's in our genes, [knowing] you can make somebody's day by being kind. She also loved to write. One time she was in New York and it was the winter, and homeless people would come up and ask for money. She would say, 'I'll give you $10 if you tell me your story.' She would collect those stories and write about them."

Carrie's life wasn't without its hardship, though. The "Fame" actress struggled with drug addiction at a young age, and her famous mother's insistence that she receive treatment created friction in their relationship for several years.

"She got sober when she was 17," Burnett recalled. "I put her in a third rehab place, and oh my God, she hated me. I came to the conclusion that I had to love her enough to let her hate me. She got sober and we started bonding. We wound up working together, writing a play together. We worked together in three shows."

Carrie Hamilton was the youngest of Carol Burnett's three children with second husband, Joe Hamilton. They also shared daughters Jody and Erin Hamilton.

See more photos of Carol Burnett:

35 PHOTOS
Carol Burnett through the years
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Carol Burnett through the years
A portrait of American actor and comedian Carol Burnett sitting on a lounge, wearing a black dress with her hands folded. The dress is classic 60's style with sequins and a high neckline.
Carol Burnett and Joe Hamilton during 27th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Carol is seen wearing a white neck scarf with a delicate circular broach.
Joe Hamilton and Carol Burnett during International Radio and TV Society Gold Medal Awards wearing a chic yellow dress with sequins and a polka dot red coat.
Joe Hamilton and Carol Burnett during Carol Burnett Testimonial Dinner. Carol is seen wearing a sleeveless dress with a matching shawl covering her arms.
Entertainer Cher attends an event with Carol Burnett. Carol is seen in a gorgeous embroidered dress with some serious shoulder pads. A sign of the times. 
Carol Burnett and Joe Hamilton were spotted outside their hotel, Carol wearing a loose fitting striped dress with an oversized flower around her neck.

Carol attends the 36th Annual Golden Globe Awards in an all white dress, completely covered up.

Carol attends the 7th Annual People's Choice Awards showing off a serious suntan in a strapless, beachy dress with a purple seashell cover-up.

Carol Burnett and her daughter Carrie Hamilton attend the Kennedy Center Honors in gorgeous dresses. Carol is wearing an intricate floor length gown with plenty of sequins.

Ahead of her time, Carol is seen wearing a wrap dress with a chic diamond clutch.

Carol Burnett is all smiles, wearing a black and white polka dot top while hugging Phyllis Diller.

Carol Burnett and Mary Tyler Moore attend the "Carol Burnett Exhibit" on display in Los Angeles. You know you've arrived when you have an entire exhibit dedicated to you.

Carol is not afraid of an over-the-top blazer to go with a simple black dress.
Saying hello to the paparazzi, Carol is seen wearing a brown coat with colorful blocking. 
Carol Burnett during 5th Annual Sterling Awards in red from head to toe.
Carol's hair transformed along with her style, and she was sporting a beautiful short red hairstyle in 1993.
Carol's style was all her own, and she looked fabulous in this cropped blazer with white trim.
Talk about two style icons, Carol and Liza Minelli are spotted chatting at a party. Carol is wearing an all-gold sequin blazer while Liza is subdued in black.
Dressed for the occasion, Carol looks gorgeous in a black gown with a sheer shawl.
Nothing like adding a pop of color to get noticed!
We're seeing a trend in Carol's style, SEQUINS! The funny gal is in love with wearing the sparkly embellishments.
Carol shows off her American Comedy Award in an all pink skirt and blazer.
Wearing darker colors, Carol is seen wearing a turtleneck under a chic black blazer.
Even in the late '90s Carol can make herself laugh. The actress sure knows how to use color in her favor with this gorgeous striped skirt.
Carol Burnett is showing quite a bit of leg in this photo, wearing a skirt and matching blazer.
Pretty in purple, Carol attends the premiere of the Producers on broadway.
Carol Burnett is a Kennedy Center Honors recipient, dressed in all white. She looks stunning. 
Carol poses outside at the 5th Annual TV Land Awards in a purple blazer and black skirt. The funny lady always looks her best for a red carpet.
Carol Burnett attends the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in a firey red ensemble. The outfit perfectly matches her hair.
Dressed in all black, Carol is totally age appropriate in this conservative number.
While making an appearance at the Tonight Show, Carol wears a red blazer with a black turtleneck underneath.
Oversized tunics start to become Carol's red carpet staple, seen here in coral with a long necklace.
Carol Burnett poses backstage following a performance by Linda Lavin in a classic black ensemble.
Actress and comedian Carol Burnett arrives at the Hooray For Hollywood event wearing a similar black outfit with ruffles.
Carol Burnett attends the naming ceremony and plaque unveiling Of "Carol Burnett Square" in Los Angeles, wearing one of her classic white blazers.
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