NEW SALISBURY, IN (WAVE) - The husband of actress Erin Moran said his wife died of complications from skin cancer Saturday, the 25th anniversary of the day they met. The two of them had planned to celebrate their milestone later that day by attending Thunder Over Louisville, the air show and fireworks display that kick off the Kentucky Derby Festival.
Steve Fleischmann made the comments in an open letter Moran's Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi co-star Scott Baio posted on his Facebook page late Tuesday morning.
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The couple lived in the Harrison County, Indiana community of New Salisbury.
Fleischmann said Moran was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in early December, just weeks after she first noticed a blood stain on her pillowcase. According to webmd.com, squamous cell carcinoma is a generally slow growing cancer that usually is found on areas of the body damaged by UV rays from the sun or tanning beds. It can show up in other areas of the body such as the mouth.
"It got so bad so fast," Fleischmann wrote. "By the middle of February, Erin could no longer speak or eat or drink. She had a feeding tube implant and I feed (sic) her 6 to 8 times a day. She was still happy, she was active, she texted people on her phone all day."
Flesichman said his wife was given radiation treatments five days a week and chemotherapy once a week at Norton Cancer Institute.
"We did that the whole time," he said.
Moran had trouble breathing on Friday, Fleischmann said, and on Saturday, "she was not 100%."
Fleischmann said he went to the store to buy his wife some tissues. When he returned, she was lying in bed watching TV.
"I laid down next to her (and) held her right hand in my left," Flesichmann said. "I fell asleep (and) woke up about an hour later still holding her hand and she was gone, she was just gone."
Fleischmann said the coroner told him the cancer had spread to Moran's spleen, her brain was infected, and she had a lot of fluid in her lungs.
"The coroner said even if she was in the hospital being pumped full of antibiotics she still would not of (sic) made it," Fleischmann continued. "He said it was the best that she was with me and went in her sleep."
Moran was 56 years old. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.