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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Actor John Ritter Dead

Aired September 12, 2003 - 05:44   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: We want to talk more now about the death of comic actor John Ritter. Joining us by phone, the members of "The Bert Show" from Atlanta's Q100.
Good morning -- Bert.

BERT WEISS, "THE BERT SHOW," Q100 ATLANTA: Hey, Carol, how are you this morning?

COSTELLO: Fine. Who's with you?

WEISS: Jenn Hobby is here and Jeff Dauler and Melissa Carter. We're all here.

COSTELLO: Well welcome to all of you.

When we heard about John Ritter's death, we were just shocked. And you know we were trying to think why that was. You know he was young, but he was so beloved.

WEISS: We were just talking about the same thing. And I think the reason for that is because for a lot of us, especially us here at Q100, we were trying to reflect and think what the first sitcom was that we ever really watched and got into. And we all kind of said we thought that it was "Three's Company."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

COSTELLO: Yes, I guess that was a cultural thing, especially for members of our generation. And I just think that he was just so darn young, you just didn't expect it.

WEISS: Yes, you know every now and then you see like on the Internet kind of like these morbid death polls, and it's always somebody like Bob Hope and Katharine Hepburn, somebody in their 80s or 90s. And you just never expect to wake up in the morning and see a guy like John Ritter not with us anymore.

COSTELLO: Yes, apparently, we got this from his public relations department, and it says the cause of death was a dissection of the aorta which results from an unrecognized flaw in the aorta. The condition is undetectable. So apparently he collapsed while he was on the set of his new show on ABC and he was brought to the hospital and they just couldn't repair his aorta. WEISS: OK, so that's news to us also. I assumed that it happened overnight, like what he was at the house or something, and just had a massive heart attack. So you're saying that he was on the set when it happened.

COSTELLO: Well those were the initial reports. Not much information is coming out right now. But we do know that the cause of death was that dissection of the aorta. And I'm not exactly sure what that was, is it something you have from birth, I don't know. We'll have to ask our Dr. Sanjay Gupta about that later.

WEISS: Yes, it really is just I think we're all kind of still a little bit shocked, you know,...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are.

WEISS: ... because the show started back in 1977 and we were all so young then. But again, it's just like part of our youth now is gone because John Ritter for us was Jack Tripper. You know anybody watching television now, he's the dad on "8 Simple Rules." But for all of us,...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

WEISS: ... he'll always be Jack Tripper.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

COSTELLO: Yes. Hey, thanks a lot for joining us this morning. We sure appreciate it. Try to have a good Friday. Thanks.

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