Valerie Harper’s husband says he will not put his wife in hospice care, despite her doctor’s advice. Tony Cacciotti, Harper’s husband of 32 years, posted an update on the Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda star to Facebook in which he explained why he simply “can’t” put his wife in hospice care as she battles terminal cancer.
“I have been told by doctors to put Val in hospice care and I can’t [because of our 40 years of shared commitment to each other] and I won’t because of the amazing good deeds she has graced us with while she’s been here on earth.We will continue going forward as long as the powers above allow us, I will do my very best in making Val as comfortable as possible.”
Harper’s husband went on to thank “two special angels” who have made it possible to have all of his ailing wife’s needs taken care of. In his emotional update, Cacciotti admitted that “it’s hard letting go,” and he vowed, “So as long as I’m able and capable, I’ll be where I belong right beside her.”
Harper’s husband also gave an update on his wife’s condition to People as he explained his decision to care for her at their home. Cacciotti revealed that his famous wife, who is best known for her role as Rhoda Morgenstern on the classic 1970s sitcoms The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda, is still “hanging in there” despite her 10-year battle with cancer. The TV legend’s husband admitted that his wife has “good days and we have tough days.”
“We have an extraordinarily strong friendship [and] that’s the foundation of our union.” ❤️ https://t.co/YpZtZ9tDqH— Closer Weekly (@closerweekly) July 24, 2019
Harper, 79, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009 and later revealed she was diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare terminal brain cancer, in 2013. At the time of her devastating diagnosis, doctors told her she only had three months to live, but Harper continued to beat the odds. The four-time Emmy winner even competed on Dancing With the Stars after she was given her terminal cancer diagnosis in 2013. At the time, Harper told ABC News she planned to live until she dies.
“Don’t die until you’re dead!” Harper said of her decision to compete on the ABC celebrity ballroom competition. “Don’t give up on your life. Till God strikes you dead, don’t just lay there.”
The then-74-year-old competed for several weeks on the physically demanding celebrity dancing competition. Harper was one of the oldest stars ever to compete on DWTS. Harper’s former Mary Tyler Moore Show co-star Cloris Leachman, who was 82 when she hit the dance floor in 2008, remains the show’s oldest competitor.
Four years after her impressive Dancing With the Stars stint, Harper told People that the secret to her survival was her devoted caregiver and husband.
“He’s such a nudge,” Harper said of Cacciotti. “He does everything for me, drives me everywhere, makes sure I’m eating healthy, walking and lifting weights. Really, he’s the best nudge in the world.”
Last week, Cacciotti started a GoFundMe account to help with Harper’s daily medical costs, which include a multitude of medications and round-the-clock care. This is not covered by insurance and is putting an extreme financial burden on her family. The fund has raised more than $66,000 to date.