News of Norm Macdonald’s death shocked the world on Tuesday.
As it turns out, for nine long years the 61-year-old had been fighting a secret battle against cancer.
A close friend told Deadline that Macdonald hid the diagnosis from not only fans but also his close friends and family members.
“He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him,” his friend and producing partner Lori Jo Hoekstra said.
In the interview, Macdonald condemned what he described as “confessional comedy.”
Keep in mind this interview was conducted in the midst of his own battle with cancer.
“I saw a one-woman show once,” Macdonald said, “And she was like, ‘Well, my mother had breast cancer and now I have breast cancer,’ and I’m like, ‘Well, that’s everybody.'”
“They think it’s so special when everyone gets cancer and dies. It’s almost the height of narcissism, to think that you’re going to be so brave as to talk about it in person, whereas all you’re doing is just garnering sympathy for yourself.”
“How’s that brave? It seems cowardly.”
— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald) October 28, 2016
In his usual eccentric way, Macdonald then went on to tell the story of Richard Farnsworth.
An American actor and stuntman, Farnsworth committed suicide by gunshot at the age of 80. The actor had been suffering from terminal cancer at the time that had left him partially paralyzed and in great pain.
In spite of all of that, Farnsworth kept his condition a secret from even his close family members until the very end.
“That, to me, is courageous. You’re not being a burden to your family, they know nothing about it and then you’re gone,” Macdonald said.
“I thought, ‘Wow, how incredible, how many people could do that, to go through it alone.'”
Macdonald then went on to hint at his own condition.
“If I had a specific ailment — and possibly I do, you don’t know — I would not talk about it,” he said. “I would not, I hope that I would not discuss it.”
The beloved comedian went on to realize that fateful expectation.
Unwilling to burden his loved ones or fans, he suffered alone.
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