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Her friends had recently launched a crowdsourcing campaign to help to fund a non-subsidised life-prolonging drug.
"Our māmā, our sister, our aunty, our friend, she has followed the call of her tīpuna," Stacey Morrison posted on Facebook, on behalf of Ms Brunning's whānau.
"Nancy's passion was to bring unheard stories to the light. To remind our people that our voices are a powerful tool and aroha is the most important thing of all.
"And while she was loved by the world, she was loved even more by us. She was the person that bound our whānau together."
Brunning (48) was one of the original cast members of long-running Kiwi soap opera Shortland Street and was with the show for two years after it started.
A spokesperson says her body will be taken to Raukawa Marae in Ōtaki.