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Tanya Roberts in 'Dire' Condition, Partner Speaks Out

Lance O'Brien tries to clear up how false reports circulated on the death of 'That '70s Show' actress
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2021 2:33 AM CST
Tanya Roberts' Partner on Her 'Death': 'Miscommunication'
Actress Tanya Roberts poses for photos at the grand opening of the musical comedy "The Producers" at the Paris hotel-casino in Las Vegas on Feb. 9, 2007.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

(Newser) – The murky story of how the "death" of Bond girl and That '70s Show actor Tanya Roberts was mistakenly reported on Monday is still a little murky, but with some clarification. It sounds like crossed wires of sorts between Lance O'Brien (Roberts' longtime partner), Mike Pingel (her publicist), and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where Roberts has been hospitalized since collapsing on New Year's Eve. O'Brien tells Fox News he hadn't been able to see Roberts there for days due to COVID protocols, but that he was finally granted a visit on Sunday, as nurses told him Roberts was about to die. As he sat with her in her room, she opened her eyes and tried to grab onto him, then suddenly closed them again and "faded," he tells TMZ. He left devastated, without speaking to staff, but he told Pingel, who picked him up from the hospital, that he'd "just said goodbye to Tanya," per Fox.

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Pingel, for his part, tells TMZ that when a distraught O'Brien saw Roberts' eyes close, he thought that was it. Pingel apparently issued a statement to the press on Roberts' death shortly after. O'Brien calls the whole thing a "miscommunication." Inside Edition was interviewing O'Brien on Zoom Monday when he got the phone call from the hospital informing him Roberts wasn't dead after all. "Now you're telling me that she's alive?" an incredulous O'Brien can be seen saying, before breaking down. "Thank the Lord." O'Brien and Pingel tell CNN it was just a coincidence that O'Brien happened to be on Zoom with Inside Edition when the happy news came in. O'Brien isn't 100% happy, though, especially with Cedars-Sinai, telling Fox it was tough to get updates on how she was doing, that no one seemed to want to help, and that her "terrible" hospital room was like a cafeteria. O'Brien says Roberts has tested negative for COVID; Pingel says she remains in "dire" condition. (Read more celebrity death stories.)

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