Norm MacDonald Reached Out In a Time of Need
- Comedian Norm MacDonald, who passed away following a private battle with cancer, reached out to comedian Laurie Kilmartin when she shared that her father had been diagnosed with cancer.
- “I’m just an idiot, Laurie, but I found when I embraced the pain as tightly as I could it became love. I pray for you,” wrote MacDonald at the time.
- MacDonald also joked in 2011 about the was people say they “lost someone to cancer” : “I’m pretty sure that if you die, then the cancer also dies at the same time. That to me is not a loss. That’s a draw.”
“Norm MacDonald was a true GOAT. As a comic, as a talk show guest. A true original,” wrote Laurie Kilmartin on Twitter.Read More
“He tweeted this to me as my dad was dying from cancer in 2014, ‘I’m just an idiot, Laurie, but I found when I embraced the pain as tightly as I could, it became love. I pray for you.'”
Kilmartin, who appeared on Last Comic Standing and VH1’s Best Week Ever, said that the message made a huge impact at the time.
“I don’t even know if he remembered that we’d worked a week together in the ’90s; it was out of the blue, social media consolation and really really lovely,” she said in a subsequent tweet.
The Saturday Night Live alum died after a nine-year battle with cancer at the age of 61. It was a battle that he kept largely private.
MacDonald also spoke about cancer in his 2011 stand-up special and during an interview in 2018 that have both resurfaced over the past 24 hours.
In his special Me Doing Standup, MacDonald delivered a joke about an uncle who had been diagnosed with bowel cancer, saying: “I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure that if you die, then the cancer also dies at the same time. That, to me, is not a loss. That’s a draw.”
He also spoke about the disease in a more somber manner during a 2018 interview with Vulture.
When asked about the idea of good versus bad art, he states: “I’m telling you this: I’ve heard people go on stage and talk about cancer or some shit, and I go, ‘Isn’t this what happens to everybody?’ They seem to think they’re singular in their story when their story is the most common story that could be, which is suffering and pain.”
He then added later in the interview: “You know, I think about my deathbed a lot.”
Keeping a Cancer Battle Private
A person’s health is a private matter; a cancer battle is arguably even more private, which is why some people, especially celebrities, choose to keep their health struggles out of the spotlight.
Macdonald apparently battled cancer for nine years, unbeknownst to most people; what type of cancer he battled has not been made public. The news that Macdonald even had cancer was only made public today upon the announcement of his death.
People like actress Kelly Preston, who was married to actor John Travolta, kept her cancer battle a secret as well; she died of breast cancer at age 57 last summer. Like Macdonald, Preston’s death was a surprise to many as her cancer diagnosis was widely unknown to the public.
On announcing her death, Travolta, now 67, noted at the time that he — like his late wife — would opt for a quiet, private road ahead as he began to grieve his wife. The actor posted to Instagram: “I will be taking some time to be there for my children who have lost their mother, so forgive me in advance if you don’t hear from us for a while. But please know that I will feel your outpouring of love in the weeks and months ahead as we heal.”
Actor Stanley Tucci also recently revealed for the first time that he privately fought tongue cancer three years ago. Actress Helen McCroy, wife to actor Damien Lewis, passed away in April at age 52 after a private battle with cancer.
People have different reasons for whether they share the news of their cancer diagnosis or not. For Marquina Iliev-Piselli, she says that sharing the news can be a burden.
“Deciding when and who to tell became quite a burden,” she tells SurvivorNet. “So you have to relive your story over and over again.”
This alone is reason enough for people to keep their cancer diagnosis under wraps; in the end, the decision is up to the person diagnosed with the disease. And it’s important to remember that there’s no right way to deal with cancer; everyone handles it differently.
Contributing: Sydney Schaefer