John Ritter died from an undiagnosed and undetected heart flaw called an aortic dissection. He was just six days from his 55th birthday when he fell ill while rehearsing lines on the set of 8 Simple Rules… for Dating My Teenage Daughter.
His surviving wife, Amy Yasbeck, and his family filed lawsuits within the case claiming his death could are prevented. Yasbeck also formed the toilet Ritter Foundation to teach the general public about aortic dissection and to help those affected by the condition. Ritter was best known for his role as Jack Tripper on the 70s and 80s classic, Three’s Company. An ABC special, Superstar: John Ritter, will discuss his life, death, and legacy.
It airs Wednesday, August 25, 2021, at 10 p.m. Eastern Time. Yasbeck testified about the last hours of her husband’s life during a death lawsuit alleging two doctors were negligent in his care. She said she was called to the hospital in Burbank, California, and doctors told her Ritter was having an attack and needed an angiogram, consistent with CBC. Ritter wanted a second opinion, the article said.
“Dr. Lee said: ‘No, there’s no time. You’re within the middle of an attack,”‘ Yasbeck testified, consistent with CBC. “I leaned right down to John’s ear and said: ‘I know you’re scared but you’ve got to be brave and do that because these guys know what they’re doing.’ And he was brave for all the time I saw him,” Yasbeck testified, consistent with the CBC report. She mouthed the words “I love you” as he was being wheeled away, she testified, consistent with the article. Surgery was performed on Ritter, but his aorta was “shredded,” the article said. Soon, his family learned he had died.
“He said it had been over and John’s death, that they worked on John for an extended time but the damage was done by the time he got there. it had been an accomplished fact and John was dead,” Yasbeck testified, consistent with CBC.
The doctors, Dr. Joseph Lee and Dr. Matthew Lotysch were cleared of any wrongdoing, and therefore the family lost their $67 million lawsuits. However, they won previous lawsuits filed in Ritter’s death, and his death changed the way doctors detect and treat aortic dissection, consistent with Columbia Surgery. The symptoms of aortic dissection can mimic the symptoms of an attack, Columbia Surgery reported. When Ritter was brought into the hospital, they began treatment for an attack. However, the misdiagnosis delayed his care, the article said. Once the condition was properly diagnosed, doctors operated and tried to repair the dissection, the article said. However, the surgery was unsuccessful. He died on 9/11, 2003.