Bob Saget opened up about his sister’s death from scleroderma – and how he would continue to battle the disease “when I’m gone” – in one of his final interviews.
the Full house actor and comedian was interviewed by TUSEN Matinees‘s Dr. Jonathan LaPook just weeks before his sudden death – and it aired on Friday. Bob became emotional during the Dec. 6 chat as he discussed how he watched his sister Gay Saget die of scleroderma, in 1994 at the age of 47, and how that drives his charity work fighting rare autoimmune disease. During his lifetime, Bob raised $26 million for scleroderma research.
The old one America’s Funniest Home Videos The host said Gay was battling fatigue and felt like his skin was on fire – as the condition causes skin to tighten and inflammation throughout his body. However, she failed to get a proper diagnosis. Doctors “named everything except what it was,” Saget said.
After a four-year battle, Gay passed away and an emotional Bob said he “couldn’t take it. I can never get the images of the end of his life out of my head.”
“We were all in the room when she took her last breath,” he said. “I don’t know how to explain it, but I felt like – I’m going to do everything woo-woo here – but it felt like the soul was overtaking us. I felt my hair move.”
The comedian then made a joke about his hair, noting that “humor is the only way my family can survive.”
He called his use of comedy a “defense mechanism” and one that “really helped me survive”. He said comedy “helped keep me mentally alive rather than letting it destroy me”.
Of his life raising funds for scleroderma – calling on famous friends John Stamos, Dave Chappelle, George Lopez, John Mayer and Robin Williams to attend his charity events – Bob said: “I can’t see what happened to my sister happen to more people… For me, it’s a tribute to her.”
When praised by LaPook for his fundraising efforts, he insisted, “I have a lot to do. I really want to do [Gay] justice is to really make huge strides in the next decade or two… My sister shouldn’t be dead. It’s one of the things that made me do this — and will keep me doing this — until I’m gone. I will when I’m gone.”
Bob was found dead Sunday in his hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando. He had given shows during his comedy tour, the last being on Saturday evening. After returning to his hotel, he died in his sleep. A wellness check was carried out by hotel security on Sunday when his wife was unable to contact him. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities said there were no signs of foul play or drug use. The medical examiner saw no signs of drug use either, with autopsy results pending further testing.
Following Bob’s death, his friends requested donations to the Scleroderma Research Foundation in his name. Bob had been a member of the nonprofit’s board of directors since 2003. In honor of Bob, the organization matches each donation up to $1.5 million via a grant provided by other members of the board of directors, philanthropists and friends of the star.