Earlier this week, Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi actress Erin Moran passed away at the age of 56.
Little was known about Moran’s cause of death in the days after the news of her passing went public, but that didn’t prevent one of her former co-stars from speculating.
Scott Baio, who played the other title character in Joanie Loves Chachi, stated that he was “not surprised” by Moran’s death.
Even worse, he incorrectly attributed her premature demise to her history of drug and alcohol abuse.
“I feel bad because her whole life, she was troubled, could never find what made her happy and content,” Baio said in an interview on Monday.
“For me, you do drugs or drink, you’re gonna die.”
After it was revealed that Moran likely died of cancer and not of an overdose, the criticism of Baio grew louder, with many demanding the actor apologize.
Instead, Baio defended his comments in a bizarrely Trump-ian Twitter tirade.
The 56-year-old tweeted: “This is so wrong.”
“Now I know what fake news is! I said ‘IF’ (You abuse drugs/alcohol). My wife @MrsScottBaio spoke to Erin less than 1 month ago.”
Now it seems that Baio has finally come to an important realization (better late than never) in the aftermath of this controversy:
He should be trying to make amends to Moran’s family, not flailing about in an effort to salvage what’s left of his career.
Moments ago, Baio posted a lengthy open letter penned by Moran’s husband, Steve Fleischmann, which confirms what law enforcement officials revealed yesterday:
Moran was battling stage four cancer at the time of her death.
Fleischmann revealed that the cancer acted fast, having only been discovered in November:
“Erin woke up and had about a dime size blood stain on her pillowcase,” he wrote.
“She said I think i bit my tongue. A couple days go by and there’s a bigger spot of blood.”
“We get like 4 days into December, there’s more blood. I get a flashlight and say let me look. It was not her tongue it was her tonsil on the left side.”
“I thought it was tonsillitis.”
“So we went to an ENT who said they wanted to biopsy it. It came back squamous cell carcinoma. She started radiation and chemo.”
“Five days a week radiation and chemo only on Thursdays,” he recalls. “We did that the whole time. It got so bad so fast.”
Fleischmann went on to offer a heartbreaking account of his wife’s final moments:
“I laid down next to her held her right hand in my left.”
“I feel asleep woke up about a hour later still holding her hand and she was gone, she was just gone. Norton Cancer Institute never said how bad it was.”
“The coroner told me it was really really bad. It had spread to her spleen, she had a lot of fluid in her lungs and part of her brain was infected.”
He added that by the time the cancer was discovered, it was already too late to have a realistic chance of saving Erin.
“The coroner said even if she was in the hospital being pumped full of antibiotics she still would not of made it,” he recalls.
“He said it was the best that she was with me and went in her sleep,” Fleischmann concluded with a plea for sensitivity from fans and the media:
“PLEASE feel free to send the above to Any and ALL news outlets The press has been relentless,” he wrote.
“They knock on the door constantly.”
Our thoughts go out to Fleischmann and the rest of Moran’s family at this difficult time.