After the death of his Happy Days co-star Erin Moran this Saturday, Scott Baio went on The Bernie & Sid Show where he discussed how her history with drugs and alcohol might have contributed to her death. In the interview, which took place before an autopsy revealed that Moran likely died from complications due to cancer, Baio said he was “a little shocked but not completely shocked that this happened,” adding, “I feel bad because her whole life, she was troubled, could never find what made her happy and content. For me, you do drugs or drink, you’re gonna die. I’m sorry if that’s cold, but God gave you a brain, gave you the will to live and thrive and you gotta take care of yourself.”
Baio’s comments, which seem to place the blame on Moran herself, provoked backlash, especially once Moran’s autopsy results came out and revealed that she likely died from complications due to stage 4 cancer. In response to a critical tweet from Tonight Show writer Chase Mitchell, Baio said he was being attacked for political reasons, claiming “You bash me ONLY because I supposed Pres @realDonaldTrump.” In a Facebook post last night, he claimed to be the victim of fake news, writing that he had read headlines that said Moran had died of a heroin overdose and was reacting to those when he did his radio interview. “Please stop assuming the worse in me,” he wrote. “I’m a compassionate person. I’m very heartbroken over her passing, especially since it was cancer.”
Update 2:30 p.m.: Baio followed up his statement with another Facebook post he says is a statement from Moran’s husband Steve, which details Moran’s recent diagnosis with squamous cell carcinoma in late 2016 and her rapid decline in health. “By the middle of February, Erin could no longer speak or eat or drink,” Steve wrote, going on to explain how he cared for her. Read the full statement here.