“Please Don’t Die”: Bernie Mac’s Heartbroken Widow Opens Up About His Death

March 15, 2016  |  

OWN

OWN

Nearly eight years after his untimely passing, Bernie Mac’s widow, Rhonda McCullough opened up about losing the love of her life. The comedian died due to complications stemming from sarcoidosis on a summer day in August of 2008—a day that changed Rhonda’s life forever.

“August the 8th, he had woke up. They said, ‘We’re going to put a feeding tube in him,’ and just everything went wrong,” McCullough shared during an upcoming episode of OWN’s “Where Are They Now?

From there, Bernie’s heart stopped beating, and he had to be resuscitated.

“When they finally let me go into the room to see him, I was like, ‘Oh, my God,” Rhonda recalled. “He was just shaking, and his eyes was just, like, wide open, and he wasn’t really looking at anybody.”

She begged him to stay with her, but unfortunately, he passed hours later.

“I said, ‘Please don’t, don’t die,'” she said before breaking down. “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.'”

“It was around 2 o’clock that morning. I remember seeing the door open, and the doctor was standing in the doorway,” Rhonda said. “I looked at her, and I said, ‘He’s gone, isn’t he?’ She [nodded].”

Rhonda and Bernie had been together since they were teens and finding a way to go on without him has proven to be difficult.

“My whole life was him, since I was 16,” she cried. “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?”

Prior to his death, Bernie started the Bernie Mac Foundation in hopes of raising awareness surrounding the deadly disease that later claimed his life. After his passing, Rhonda had a difficult time carrying on with the organization. However, she later realized that continuing with the foundation would be the perfect way to keep Mac’s memory alive.

“What better way to have his legacy live on?” Rhonda said. “The foundation means to me everything that Bernard was and that he wanted.”

Rhonda’s episode of “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” airs Saturdays at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.

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