Actress Kristin Harmon, sister of Mark Harmon, dead at 72

Actress and painter Kristin Harmon, the older sister of "NCIS" actor Mark Harmon and the ex-wife of former pop star Ricky Nelson, died April 27 of a heart attack. She was 72.

Harmon's "sudden and unexpected" death was confirmed by her daughter Tracy in a touching Facebook post May 1. Tracy added that Harmon had also been put into a coma for an undetermined amount of time last year to treat a lung infection.

"No one could blow the house down like she could. And no one could make something out of nothing like she could," Tracy wrote. "She knew where the party was, she WAS the party. She didn't just know the cool people, she WAS the cool people."

See early photos of Kristin Harmon, Mark Harmon and Kelly Harmon:

15 PHOTOS
Early photos of siblings Mark, Kelly and Kristin Harmon
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Early photos of siblings Mark, Kelly and Kristin Harmon
Kristin Harmon cries next to Ricky Nelson in a scene from the film 'Love And Kisses', 1965. (Photo by Universal/Getty Images)
circa 1963: American rock n' roll singer Rick Nelson (1940-1985) smiles with his wife Kristin Harmon. He holds an acoustic guitar. (Photo by KMR Publications/Getty Images)
Former Michigan football superstar Tom Harmon (L) posing w. his son Mark who is U.C.L.A.'s quarterback. (Photo by John Bryson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 1: SAM, a police drama featuring Mark Harmon (as Officer Mike Breen) and Sam, the yellow Labrador retriever police dog. Image dated 1978. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
1965: American actor and rock n' roll singer Rick Nelson (1940-1985) sits outdoors on a lawn chair with his wife Kristin Harmon and their daughter Tracy. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
MOVIE OF THE WEEK - 'The Over the Hill Gang' - Airdate October 7, 1969. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) PAT O'BRIEN;EDGAR BUCHANAN;RICKY NELSON;KRISTIN HARMON
SANTA MONICA, CA - JANUARY 16: Musician Ricky Nelson and wife Kristin Harmon attending Fifth Annual American Music Awards on January 16, 1978 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - 1985: Actress Kelly Harmon poses for a portrait in 1985 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)
Mark Harmon and Elizabeth Reagan during 'The Love Boat' Honors Helen Hayes at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Betty Galella/WireImage)
THE MASTER -- 'Kunoichi' Episode 9 -- Pictured: Kelly Harmon as Allison -- (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Former actress Elyse Knox Harmon in organdy dress similar small daughter Sharon's, posing for portrait w. Sharon and infant daughter Kelly. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
LOVE BOAT - 'The Wedding: Carol and Doug's Story/Peter and Alicia's Stroy/Julie's Story/Buddy and Portia's Story: Part 2' which aired on September 15, 1979. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) LISA HARTMAN;MARK HARMON
LOVE BOAT - 'The Wedding: Caroly and Doug's Story/Peter and Alicia's Story/Julie's Story/Buddy and Portia's Story: Part 2' which aired on September 15, 1979. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) MARK HARMON;LISA HARTMAN
Mark Harmon looking into the eyes of Morgan Fairchild in a scene from the television movie 'The Dream Merchants', 1980. (Photo by Columbia Pictures Television/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - 1985: Actress Kelly Harmon poses for a portrait in 1985 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)
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Harmon was born in 1945 to 1940 Heisman trophy winner Tom Harmon and actress Elyse Knox. She was the older sister of actor Mark and model and "Bay City Blues" actress Kelly.

The blonde met her future husband Ricky Nelson at just 12 years old, and they were wed six years later in 1963.

That same year, she joined her husband's family's radio and TV series "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," on which she appeared in 29 episodes as Ricky's on-screen wife.

The couple, who also appeared together on screen in "Love and Kisses," had four children: actress Tracy, twin sons Gunnar and Matthew, who went on to form the band Nelson, and son Sam.

But there was trouble in paradise for the two, whose marriage quickly descended into a drug-fueled spiral.

"At first we were in it together. I tried to be one of the guys, to fix the marriage by going on the road and being involved in road stuff that is really not good for anyone. After a while we were totally messed up, both of us," she told People in 1987. "I got into therapy and so did he for a while but then he started not showing up… I knew that if I didn't leave, we would both die. I knew that I would just somehow try to make it for my kids. I couldn't help Rick anymore."

See photos of Mark Harmon through the years:

37 PHOTOS
Mark Harmon through the years
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Mark Harmon through the years
Former Michigan football superstar Tom Harmon (L) posing w. his son Mark who is U.C.L.A.'s quarterback. (Photo by John Bryson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Mark Harmon and Elizabeth Reagan during 'The Love Boat' Honors Helen Hayes at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Betty Galella/WireImage)
Mark Harmon and Brianne Leary kissing on the beach in a scene from the television movie 'The Dream Merchants', 1980. (Photo by Columbia Pictures Television/Getty Images)
Mark Harmon looking into the eyes of Morgan Fairchild in a scene from the television movie 'The Dream Merchants', 1980. (Photo by Columbia Pictures Television/Getty Images)
Actor Mark Harmon and actress Cristina Raines attend the 31st Annual American Cinema Editors (ACE) Eddie Awards on March 21, 1981 at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 20: ABC SPECIAL - 'Battle of the Network Stars' - 11/20/81, Mark Harmon on the ABC Television Network competition 'Battle of the Network Stars'., (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
Actor Mark Harmon and actress Cristina Raines take a break from filming the television series Flamingo Road on February 9, 1982 at The Burbank Studios in Burbank, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
BURBANK, CA - FEBRUARY 9: Mark Harmon attends 'Flamingo Road' Press Conference on February 9, 1982 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Mark Harmon (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
ST. ELSEWHERE -- 'Lust Et Veritas' Episode 2 -- Pictured: (l-r) Nancy Stafford as Joan Halloran, Mark Harmon as Doctor Robert Caldwell (Photo by Gary Null/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Mark Harmon (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
ST. ELSEWHERE -- Season 4 -- Pictured: Mark Harmon as Dr. Robert 'Bobby' Caldwell -- Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank
Mark Harmon (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Pam Dawber and Mark Harmon (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 18 -- Pictured: Mark Harmon during the 'He's the One' skit on May 9, 1987 -- Photo by: Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
Mark Harmon during The 15th Annual People's Choice Awards at Disney Studios in Burbank, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Mark Harmon (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Pictured: (l-r) Actor Mark Harmon during an interview with host Jay Leno on September 25, 1991 -- (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 19: Mark Harmon (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Mark Harmon (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Sarah Wayne, Mark Harmon, and Joshua Jackson standing together in a scene from the film 'Magic In The Water', 1994. (Photo by TriStar/Getty Images)
Mark Harmon stars as Dr. Jack McNeil on 'Chicago Hope', a medical drama show based in Chicago, 1996. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
Mark Harmon and guest during 4th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Mark Harmon during The 26th Annual People's Choice Awards at Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Mark Harmon arriving at 2002 Creative Arts Awards. (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
Mark Harmon proudly shows his SAG Card. *exclusive* ***Exclusive*** (Photo by Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic)
THE MEGAN MULLALLY SHOW -- Episode 1039 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actor Mark Harmon poses with host Megan Mullally on November 7, 2006 -- Photo by: Dave Bjerke/NBCU Photo Bank
Mark Harmon (Photo by John Sciulli/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 22: 'Silent Night'--Gibbs (Mark Harmon, right) and the team are forced to work overtime during Christmas when they discover their prime suspect has been dead for 17 years on NCIS Tuesday Dec. 16 (8:00-9:00PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Mark Harmon -- Air Date 04/24/2008 -- Episode 3535 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actor Mark Harmon during an interview with host Jay Leno on April 14, 2008 -- Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank
Mark Harmon at the 'NCIS' press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel on February 26, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Vera Anderson/WireImage)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 4596 -- Pictured: Actor Mark Harmon during an interview on January 16, 2014 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Actor Mark Harmon honored with Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame, (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 13: 'Semper Fortis' -- While the NCIS team investigates the cause of a hit and run accident that resulted in the death of a Petty Officer, Gibbs (Mark Harmon, pictured) searches for a way to clear a Navy Hospital Corpsman, who has served two medical tours in Afghanistan, after she's indicted for illegally providing medical aid to the victims of the crash, even though the surviving victims swear by her life-saving techniques, on NCIS, Tuesday, Nov. 18 (8:00-9:00, ET/PT), on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Trae Patton/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 5: 'Off the Grid' -- After Gibbs spots the brother of an 'NCIS Most Wanted' suspect, he immediately assumes his former alias and goes undercover with their infamous anti-government militia. Also, Bishop and Reeves partner on an off-the-books investigation, on NCIS, Tuesday, Jan. 17 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Tobias Jelinek, Mark Harmon. (Photo by Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - AUGUST 11: 'Privileged Information' -- When the NCIS team investigates a marine sergeant's tragic fall from a building, her doctor, Grace Confalone (Laura San Giacomo), confides in Gibbs and suggests he treat it as a murder investigation. Also, Torres searches for a place to live, on NCIS, Tuesday, Oct. 4 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT), on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Pauley Perrette, Mark Harmon (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 10: 'Keep Your Enemies Closer' -- NCIS strikes a deal with convicted murderer Paul Triff (French Stewart), giving him a 48-hour furlough at his former residence, now McGee's home, in exchange for information that can convict his former cellmate, Gabriel Hicks (Graham Hamilton), the murderer who deceived Gibbs and Fornell (Joe Spano), on NCIS, Tuesday, Feb. 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT), on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Joe Spano, Mark Harmon. (Photo by Eddy Chen/CBS via Getty Images)
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Harmon filed for divorce in 1977, but the couple reconciled — only to split again in 1980. Their divorce was finalized two years later after years of he-said, she-said over drug and alcohol use.

After Nelson was killed in a plane crash in 1985, Harmon entered rehab at the behest of her brother, Mark.

She and her sibling's relationship was further strained when Mark and wife Pam Dawber were awarded temporary custody of a then-12-year-old Sam in 1987 amid accusations that Harmon's drug use had made her incapable of taking care of her son.

Harmon later regained custody following a contentious war of words, though Mark won visitation rights.

She was married again to Mark Tinker in 1988, and they split in 2000.

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