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'Autopsy' Reveals Health Crisis That Led Bernie Mac To His Early Grave

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In a shocking new episode, gripping series Autopsy investigates the mysterious death of beloved '90s comedian, Bernie Mac.

In the show, celebrated medical examiner Dr. Michael Hunter analyzes the late star's cryptic autopsy — all in an attempt to uncover the truth behind the stand-up-comedian's untimely passing.

Known as one of America's most iconic performers, Mac began his career as a poor funny-man strolling the streets of Chicago. After performing in various local clubs, he was chosen to star in Def Comedy Jam — a role which led to his mainstream success and fast-growing Hollywood fame.

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While the star never gave in to drugs or alcohol, his addiction to cigarettes — which began as a mere hobby — grew, along with his fame. Eventually, his constant tobacco intake led to serious respiratory problems for the comic.

One night in 1996, Mac woke up with an uncontrollable coughing fit, which medical professionals agree could have been caused by inflammation in his respiratory tract. The star later admitted that this horrifying episode is what persuaded him to quit smoking for good.

Bernie Mac

Years later, the comedian still showed signs of deep respiratory problems. Former co-star Reginald Ballard even admitted in the show's latest teaser: "He couldn't really finish sentences without taking another breath."

In 2008, a the height of his career, 50-year-old Mac was hospitalized for pneumonia. Three weeks later he died in intensive care.

Now, Autopsy is seeking to disclose what truly happened to the beloved comedian. Was there more to his health crisis than was initially revealed?

Autopsy: Bernie Mac airs Saturday, June 17, 9 ET/PT.

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