In Wednesday's Halloween episode of the long-running series, the comedy put speculation to rest by revealing that Mitchell and Claire's mother, DeDe (Shelley Long), had died.It is said later in the episode, appropriately titled "Good Grief," that DeDe died in her sleep. "It occurred to us that death is a giant part of the family experience and while Phil had lost his mother in a previous episode, we've never seen the entire family have to deal with such a loss," creator Steven Levitan told The Hollywood Reporter. "It seemed like an interesting thing to have happen." The producers behind the series, which is in the midst of what could be its final season, have been teasing a significant character death since September. Though DeDe was not a series regular, as the mother to two of the main characters and the ex-wife of another, her connection to the characters on the show runs deep. Long debuted in the role back in "Modern Family's" first season and has made a handful of appearances in the subsequent seasons.Levitan teased to THR that "the ramifications and emotional impact of this loss will remain for a little while." "Modern Family" airs Wednesdays on ABC.