How Did Bernie Mac Slip Away?

Lung disease, immune-suppressing meds were factors
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 10, 2008 8:10 AM CDT
Bernie Mac walks offstage with his award for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for "The Bernie Mac Show" at the 37th NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles in 2006.    (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
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(Newser) – Suffering from a rare lung disease, Bernie Mac was on medication to suppress his immune system—and that that made him vulnerable to the pneumonia that ended his life, his sister-in-law told People. He was hospitalized 8 days earlier than reported with a fever and trouble breathing, and “was in intensive care the whole time,” she said. At the hospital, Mac became infected with a second strain of pneumonia.

The night before he died, Mac “opened his eyes and looked” at his wife of 30 years, Rhonda. “She called his name, and he nodded to her. She smiled at him and told him, 'Don't leave me. I'm waiting for you to come back.' He shrugged his shoulders. That's when she knew he was tired,” his sister-in-law said. “She’s going to miss him dearly.”