“Yesterday, Kjell, my husband of forty years and the love of my life, killed himself,” Charo, 68, said in a statement to Us Weekly through a representative. “There are no words to describe what we are feeling now. He was an amazing man, a great husband and the best father I could imagine to our son. He dedicated his life to loving and supporting his family.”
She continued: “In recent years, his health began to decline and he developed a rare and horrible skin disease called bullous pemphigoid. He also became very depressed. That, along with the many medications he needed to take, became too much for him, and he ended his suffering.”
Rasten, who also worked as Charo’s manager, shot himself at the couple’s Beverly Hills home around 2 p.m. on Monday, February 18, and was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, according to TMZ. He was 79 years old.
“None of us had any idea this could happen to such a wonderful, kind and generous man,” Charo said in her statement. “Please, if anyone you know and love is suffering from depression or illness, hold them close, tell them you love them with all your heart and that the world is better because they are in it. Get any help you can. Suicide is not the answer.”
She added: “Thank you all so much for [your] love and concern. Thank you.”
Charo and Rasten had been married since 1978 and shared one child, son Shel, 37. The Love Boat alum was previously married to bandleader Xavier Cugat.
Us Weekly has reached out to the Beverly Hills Police Department for comment.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.