John Ritter’s widow keeps ‘Three’s Company’ star’s legacy alive 20 years after his death

John Ritter’s wife Amy Yasbeck is keeping the legacy of her late husband alive. 

Twenty years later after the beloved actor’s untimely death, Yasbeck is continuing to spread awareness of the fatal disease that took Ritter’s life.

The “8 Simple Rules” actor died after he suffered from aortic dissection and was misdiagnosed.

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“John was working on a sitcom and during the workday he had chest pain, pain in his back… ripping chest pain and nausea,” Yasbeck told Fox News Digital.

Afterward, she recalled the producer taking Ritter to the emergency room. But when he arrived, Yasbeck explained that the doctors treated the chest pain as a heart attack. 

She said Ritter was instead suffering and dying from thoracic aortic dissection.

Aortic dissection is a life-threatening condition in which a tear occurs in the inner layer of the aorta, the body’s main artery. Blood rushes through the tear, causing the inner and middle layers of the aorta to split or “dissect.” Aortic dissection affects people of all races, ethnicities, genders and ages.

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The predisposition for aortic dissection often runs in families. Although much cutting-edge research has been devoted to identifying the genetic factors responsible for this silent killer, many people at risk are unaware that they and their families are in danger.

Following his death, Ritter’s wife and fellow actor Yasbeck established The John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health with a focus and urgent purpose to prevent unnecessary suffering caused by aortic dissection. The foundation works to raise awareness of the thoracic aortic disease through research, education and advocacy.

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Yasbeck continued to tell Fox News Digital that people can help by visiting JohnRitterFoundation.org.

“If you’ve been diagnosed, or you need to talk to somebody who’s been in the same situation, we have the aorta advocates and then ‘Ritter Rules,’ which is a set of rules for understanding what your risk is.”

Ritter’s “8 Simple Rules” co-star Kaley Cuoco is also a big supporter of his foundation. 

When Fox News Digital asked Yasbeck if she keeps in touch with Ritter’s co-star, she replied, “Absolutely.”

Cuoco and her partner Tom Pelphrey will be the chairs of the Ritter Foundation’s event next May, Yasbeck shared.

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Ritter portrayed Cuoco’s overbearing on-screen father on “8 Simple Rules” before his sudden death at the age of 54, during the second season of the show. The series aired for three seasons from 2002 until 2005.

Yasbeck additionally detailed how Ritter’s four kids keep their father’s legacy alive.

“There’s no way to not keep John’s memory alive. All four kids are freaking hilarious, and they do not have to imitate their dad. They’ve all got their own thing,” Yasbeck told Fox News Digital.

WATCH: JOHN RITTER’S WIFE AMY YASBECK ON KEEPING ACTOR’S LEGACY ALIVE

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“If you get all four kids together, you can kind of recreate John, so that’s always good. And I have six grandkids, so that helps as well.”

Ritter shared sons Jason and Tyler, along with daughter Carly, with his first wife Nancy Morgan. The two were married from 1977 to 1996.

He additionally has a son, Noah, with Yasbeck. The two tied the knot in 1999 and were married until his death.

Ritter’s career spanned several decades, as his most notable roles include starring in classic television sitcoms such as “Three’s Company,” “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter,” “Clifford the Big Red Dog” and Stephen King’s 1990 miniseries “IT.” 

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His feature films include “Slingblade,” “Skin Deep,” “Stay Tuned,” “Bad Santa” and “Problem Child 1 and 2.” 

The award-winning actor received many accolades throughout his esteemed career, including a Primetime Emmy, Golden Globe and The People’s Choice award.

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