Feeding Tube Horror: 'Eight Is Enough' TV Star Susan Richardson In Life-Threatening Drama

Feb. 2 2017, Updated 11:02 a.m. ET

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Seventies TV sweetheart Susan Richardson was rushed to the hospital from the Pennsylvania trailer park she calls home with a faulty feeding tube — and barely escaped death, RadarOnline.com can exclusively reveal.

"My tube clogged on me!" said the beloved former actress, who starred on the show Eight Is Enough from 1977 to 1981, told Radar. "I'm OK now, but it was scary!"

The medical crisis struck shortly after the 64-year-old former actress underwent risky life-threatening surgery.

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"While I was in the hospital, they took half my stomach, pulled it up and wrapped it around my esophagus," said Richardson.

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She'd been placed on the feeding tube because of a rare disease called cardio-esophageal achalasia, which prevents her from eating and keeping food down.

The petite 5-foot-2 Richardson withered away to a scary 107 pounds. Although the feeding tube saved her life, Richardson — who played Susan Bradford on the TV drama — remains far from comfortable with it.

"A feeding tube is a frightening thing to have," she admitted. "You almost think, 'I'd rather not live!'"

Although Richardson is fighting to regain her health, the courageous actress — who recently launched a career as a children's book author — has spent most of the last decade battling strokes, heart attacks and other severe ailments.

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"It's been a rough year and has been even rougher of late," she said, adding she was surviving on a less-than-healthy diet of Popsicles, Cream of Wheat and pain medications before the life-saving surgery.

Even tougher, the operation came after Richardson suffered several heartbreaking losses.

"My mom passed away, my dad passed away and my sister passed away — all very suddenly," recalled Richardson, who lives in Coatesville, Penn.

Despite all her challenges, Richardson told Radar the outpouring of love she's received has been "incredible."

That included uplifting phone calls from two of her Eight Is Enough brothers, Grant Goodeve and Willie Aames.

"Oh my goodness, it was incredible!" Richardson gushed. "I came home from the hospital, and I had gotten calls from both Grant and Willie! With so much of my family gone, they became my family."

"When I did get back in touch with Susan, after she was first in the hospital, her spirit was so bright and radiant it floored me!" Goodeve exclusively told Radar. "She has been through so much, she's had so much hardship. But she doesn't dwell on it. My heart really goes out to her!"

Said Richardson: "They gave me the will to live again!"

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