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In one of Bob Saget’s final interviews, the actor and comedian sat down with a friend for a televised segment he hoped would help raise awareness for a cause close to his heart.
In as segment that aired on CBS Mornings Friday, which was taped on Dec. 6, weeks before his untimely death, Saget spoke with CBS’ chief medical expert Dr. Jon LaPook about losing his sister to scleroderma, the work he has done to help find a cure for the rare autoimmune disorder and using humor to cope with grief, saying that it’s “the only way my family survived.”
Saget was found dead in a hotel room in Orlando, Florida, on Jan. 9; the official cause of death is still pending. In the wake of the shocking death of the 65-year-old and father to three daughters, many of his friends and peers have called attention to how the Full House dad was as kind and generous as he was funny.
When discussing the final moment before his sister’s death with LaPook, Saget even inserted a moment of humor.
“We were all in the room when she let out her last breath,” he recalled. “I don’t know how to explain it — I’m going to go all woo-woo here — but it felt like the soul going past us. I literally felt my hair kind of move. And, being an actor, that’s a very important thing if your hair gets out of place.”
When LaPook marveled at his ability to joke in the serious moment, Saget replied, while choking back tears, “Humor is the only way my family survived. It is so healthy to laugh. And I’m out there doing it and I know it’s healing for people.”
In one of Bob Saget’s final interviews before his death, he opened up about losing his sister to scleroderma and using humor to cope with grief.
Saget said fighting the disease is something he wanted to do for the rest of his life, adding, “I’ll do it when I’m gone.” pic.twitter.com/JglI1cgB4u
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) January 14, 2022
Saget, who was on a stand-up comedy tour when he died, was a longtime advocate for the Scleroderma Research Foundation (SRF) and had spent years helping to find a cure for the complex disorder, which largely affects the skin and connective tissue, after losing his sister, Gay, to the disease in 1994 when she was just 47 years old.
The comedian — who was famously known for his raunchy onstage style, despite his iconic TV status as the wholesome Danny Tanner and host to America’s Funniest Home Videos — had raised more than $26 million for the foundation. And he spoke to LaPook about wanting to make major strides in the fight to find a cure in coming years, something he hoped to continue even after he was gone.
“I can’t watch what happened to my sister happen to more people,” he said of her three-to-four year battle, while recalling his famous friends and comedians, from John Stamos to Robin Williams, who have lent their star-power to his fundraising events through the years. “If I can do anything…and raising awareness is one of the things that gets you there. For me, it’s an homage to her and somehow telling her that her life had a real purpose.”
He added, “My sister should not be dead. And that’s one of the things that has kept me doing this — will keep me doing this until I’m gone. I’ll do it when I’m gone.”
In a conversation with the CBS Mornings co-hosts about the interview after it aired, LaPook noted that the work has continued after Saget’s death, with the foundation receiving a $1.5 million matching gift after his passing.
Following Saget’s death, Dr. Luke Evnin, chairman of the SRF’s board, echoed Saget’s goals in recent conversation with The Hollywood Reporter. “I honestly thought Bob and I would be on this together until the end,” recalled Evnin, who was diagnosed in 1998. “Bob was one of those people who didn’t just work with you, he connected with you first as a person and then he would work with you. That was his superpower, if you will.”
Actress Dana Delany, who starred in a 1996 TV movie inspired by Gay’s death that was written and directed by Saget, also recalled Saget’s ever-present humor while working with him on that film and in the years following for the cause.
“I’m a bit prejudiced, but his work on behalf of scleroderma is what’s going to really resonate for years to come,” she wrote in a column for THR. “I think he would feel good about that because it was his legacy, especially for his sister and for his parents. Even if we used to joke about how long it’s taken to find a cure, that’s what I loved about him — that dark humor, again — because it’s possible to be funny while facing a horrible disease and still do some good along the way. That’s Bob.”
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