According to the New York Times, Fickett died Thursday at her home in Callao, Va., at the age of 83. Her daughter tells the Times the cause was complications from Alzheimer's.
Fickett was one of the original cast members, and portrayed the outspoken nurse Ruth Martin from 1970-1995 and again from 1998-2000. In 1973, the character earned Fickett the first Emmy given to an actor for a daytime drama on the strength of a speech delivered against the Vietnam War.
The network says in a statement that they're "very saddened to learn about the passing" of Fickett.
"As we honor 'All My Children’s' 41 years on ABC, we cannot help but recognize and remember Mary’s wonderful depiction of Pine Valley’s revered Ruth," the statement continues. "Ruth’s marriage to chief of staff Dr. Joe Martin provided the bedrock upon which the town of Pine Valley was built. Their marriage was always a stabilizing force that represented “home” for many."
ABC will dedicate the September 21 episode of "All My Children" to Fickett, an episode which will focus on the Martins. The September 23 episode of "All My Children" will be the last to air on the network, although there's a plan in place to produce the soap for the Web.