Alan Thicke, the beloved star of the ’80s sitcom Growing Pains, died on December 13 after suffering a ruptured aorta artery. He was 69 years old. He was buried on December 21.
On December 21, People Magazine obtained the death certificate, which stated that Thicke died of a ruptured aorta and a standard type A aortic dissection. Thicke died just minutes after his aorta ruptured. The Associated Press reports that no autopsy was performed.
Thicke’s wife Tanya called the actor a “beloved husband, soul mate and the patriarch of our family.” She added in a statement, “It is with gut wrenching sadness and unbelievable grief that I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for the outpouring of love and support during this unimaginable time.”
TMZ later added that Carter and Thicke were playing hockey at a rink in Burbank, where they usually play. He complained about chest pains at 11 a.m. and an ambulance picked him up a half hour later after he vomited.
TMZ reports that he was taken to Providence St. Josephs Medical Center at noon and was pronounced dead at the hospital. Law enforcement sources told the site that his organs will be donated.
An employee at the Pickwick Ice Rink told NBC Los Angeles that Thicke joked to Carter that he should “take a picture” as the paramedics rolled him out.
Darin Mathewson, vice president of Pickwick Gardens, told Entertainment Tonight that he was the one who called 911. In the ET interview, Mathewson described Thicke as “a little grey” and said the actor had “pain in his chest.”
“He had Carter take a picture of him, and said, ‘Make sure you get the rink in the background’ as they were taking him out of here,” Mathewson told ET. “When he went by us, he gave us the thumbs up, like, ‘I’m doing good guys, I’m good.'”
He is survived by his three sons, singer Robin Thicke, Brennan Thicke and Carter Thicke. He is also survived by his wife Tanya. Robin also confirmed his father’s death in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. Robin called his father “the greatest man I ever met,” adding that one of the last things his father did was congratulate Carter on a great shot on the ice.
“The good thing was that he was beloved and he had closure,” Robin told the Times. “I saw him a few days ago and told him how much I loved and respected him.”
Carter posted a tribute to his father on Twitter.
Robin Thicke also posted a statement on Instagram, which reads:
My Father passed away today. He was the best man I ever knew. The best friend I ever had. Let’s all rejoice and celebrate the joy he brought to every room he was in. We love you Alan Thicke. Thank you for your love.
Thicke earned a Golden Globe nomination for Growing Pains in 1988. He played Dr. Jason Seaver in the series, which ran from 1985 to 1992. He also appeared in two follow-up TV movies. He also had Emmy nominations to his name for The Barry Manilow Special (1977) and America 2-Night (1978). Thicke was recently seen in Fuller House and played himself in the This Is Us pilot on NBC.
The actor was born in Ontario on March 1, 1947 and was married three times. He was married to Gloria Loring from 1970 to 1984 and Gina Tolleson from 1994 to 1999. He married his third wife, Tanya Callau, in 2005.
Thicke was also a frequent guest on talkshows and game shows, appearing on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Canada’s Worst Handyman and Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour. From 1980 to 1982, he hosted The Alan Thicke Show. During the early part of his career, he was also known as a composer, writing themes for Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts of Life and other shows.
Thicke’s most recent project was The Clapper, in which he plays himself alongside Amanda Seyfried and Ed Helms. His family also starred in the reality series Unusually Thicke.
Outside of acting, Thicke gave his time to charitable causes. After his son Brennan was diagnosed with diabetes, he chose juvenile diabetes as a cause to fight for. He founded the Alan Thicke Centre for Juvenile Diabetes Research, which works with scientists throughout Canada.
“He loved his family so much,” Gloria Loring said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. “He was the centerpiece to our family and I can’t imagine going forward. We always had Thanksgiving and Christmas with the big, extended family, and I just can’t imagine how it’s going to be without him.”
Here’s how members of the Growing Pains cast remembered Thicke: