Valerie Harper's Husband Tony Cacciotti Says He Won't Put Her in Hospice Care Amid Cancer Battle

Valerie Harper's husband says he will not follow doctors' advice to put his wife in hospice care amid her battle with cancer. Tony Cacciotti posted on Harper's official Facebook page Tuesday regarding her current medical status.

tony-cacciotti-valerie-harper_getty-Frederick M. Brown : Stringer
(Photo: Frederick M. Brown / Stringer, Getty)

"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," the post began. "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."

Cacciotti, who married Harper in 1987, also 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 ended by asking Harper's fans to understand his difficult position.

"For those of you who have been in this position, you will totally understand that 'it's hard letting go,'" Cacciotti continued. "So as long as I'm able and capable, I'll be where I belong right beside her. Many, many thanks for your outpouring of kindness and support."

Harper, who gained fame in the early 1970s as Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and later starred as that character in a spinoff, Rhoda, has been battling cancer for years. She was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009. In 2013, she was given three months to live after being diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a condition that occurs when cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain, known as the meninges.

However, the 79-year-old actress defied the odds and even competed on Dancing With the Stars in 2014. Partnered with pro Tristan MacManus, Harper was eliminated third in the competition. Her family recently announced a GoFundMe campaign that had been established to help pay for her medical care.

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.

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In general, hospice care begins when a person is expected to live about six months or less if the illness runs it usual course and treatment can no longer cure or control it.