Bernie Mac’s untimely and unexpected death on August 9, 2008 devastated his widow, Rhonda McCullough, and it’s a lost love that she is still pained with.
McCullough appeared on Oprah: Where Are They Now? and shared that in the years since his passing she still grapples with the loss.
“My whole life was him, since I was 16,” McCullough said. “I didn’t know what I was gonna do. It’s like, what is my reasoning for being here now? What is my purpose? How am I going to make it now?”
Mac was hospitalized for labored breath as a result of his sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease that affects the lungs and lymph glands. He was eventually sedated and placed on a ventilator to assist with his breathing. When doctors attempted to place a feeding tube in him, McCullough recalls things taking a turn for the worst.
“He was just shaking, and his eyes was just, like, wide open and he wasn’t really looking at anybody,” she continued.
Despite Mac’s despondent and unresponsive state, McCullough called out to her husband to pull through.
“I said, ‘Please don’t, don’t die,'” she said emotionally. “I said, ‘I’m here. I’m waiting for you. I’ll take care of you. Just don’t, don’t die. Don’t die.'”
Mac, who found fame after on the HBO series Def Jam Comedy, appeared in Moesha, The Player’s Club, Ocean’s Eleven, was named one of The Original Kings of Comedy, and starred in the semi-autobiographical sitcom The Bernie Mac Show, passed at the age of 50.