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Valerie Harper's husband won't put her in hospice care because of 'shared commitment'

Valerie Harper's husband, Tony Cacciotti, has decided not to move his wife into hospice care, despite doctors' recommendations.
/ Source: TODAY

Valerie Harper's husband, Tony Cacciotti, has decided not to move his wife into hospice care, despite doctors' recommendations.

Cacciotti took to Harper's Facebook page on Wednesday to share an update about the 79-year-old actress, best known for her role as Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its spinoff, "Rhoda."

Actress Valerie Harper with her husband, Tony Cacciotti, in 2014.Barry King / FilmMagic

"I have been told by doctors to put Val in Hospice care and I can’t (because of our 40 years of shared commitment to each other) and I won’t because of the amazing good deeds she has graced us with while she’s been here on earth," wrote Cacciotti, 79.

"We will continue going forward as long as the powers above allow us, I will do my very best in making Val as comfortable as possible," the actor continued.

Harper, upper left, with the cast of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."CBS via Getty Images

Harper was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009. In 2013, she was diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare and incurable form of brain cancer.

The American Cancer Society describes hospice care as "a special kind of care that focuses on the quality of life for people and their caregivers who are experiencing an advanced, life-limiting illness."

"Hospice care provides compassionate care for people in the last phases of incurable disease so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible," it added.

A person is usually transferred to hospice care when his or her disease gets to the point when treatment can no longer cure or control it. In general, hospice care begins when a person is expected to live about six months or less if the illness runs its usual course.

Cacciotti, who married Harper in 1987, thanked two of Harper's other caregivers in his emotional post.

"There are two special ANGELS on this planet masquerading as humans who live and work together, that have made it possible to have all of Val’s needs taken care of," he wrote.

He concluded by asking Harper's fans to understand how difficult it was for him to let go of his wife.

"For those of you who have been in this position, you will totally understand that 'it’s hard letting go.' So as long as I’m able and capable, I’ll be where I belong right beside her," wrote the actor, who also started a GoFundMe account to help with Harper's medical costs.

"Many, many thanks for your outpouring of kindness and support," he added.