Actor Sean Astin is speaking about his mom, Patty Duke, and her legacy following her death on Tuesday.
Astin, the star of “Goonies,” “Rudy,” and the “The Lord of the Rings” series, told the Associated Press he was there holding her hand when she died of sepsis from a ruptured intestine.
Duke had suffered from several ailments over the years, including emphysema and heart problems.
"There was so much suffering,” Sean said. “She really, really suffered in a way that — we were desperate to help relieve her suffering, and so it's just a blessing that she's not suffering anymore.”
He added, "She talked a lot about her heart bypass, her heart surgery. Obviously, her bipolar disorder was very public, but she had a lot of things that were plaguing her, and she finally got to a place where things were okay, and then this episode happened where her lower intestine basically ruptured and then there was septicemia.”
Astin continued, “So she was alert and she was able to talk to the surgeons when she went in and that was a very good and healthy process. It was clear how serious it was. 'This is a very, very sick woman,' the doctor said, and so everyone knew that it was a potentially fatal moment for her and she came out on the other side of the surgery... So from Thursday until this morning at 1:20 a.m, (it) was a really, really, really hard process. It was hard for her, it was hard for the people who love her to help her, it was hard for the professionals."
He also looked back at his mom’s career. Patty won an Oscar for her role as Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker” and starred on “The Patty Duke Show.”
"I think maybe the most important part of her legacy is her acting. Above and beyond anything, the reason any of the other stuff is possible in terms of the scope of the impact that she was able to have with people was her talent and her work and her work ethic, her discipline. She worked extremely hard."
She also made mental health issues her cause. "The biggest impact, the most successful experience that she had, was confronting her own bipolar diagnosis and then using it as a catalyst to help other people.”
He explained, "There's a collective acknowledgment that she is a warrior, and you watch this 4 foot 10, tiny imp of a lady who's more powerful than the greatest military leaders in history. I'd put her up against Napoleon and she'd beat him. When she'd look at you with her eyes, if she was angry, she was terrifying. She would terrify big Teamsters and could sit opposite a table with executives and if she was right and she had the authority... she was impressive. People know that about her and they revere that in her."
There was an outpouring of love for Duke following news of her death. Astin called it an “affirmation of the best part of her.”
"We're so grateful to her for living a life that generates that amount of compassion and feeling in others,” he said. “So, this last hour's a joy moment for me."