Never forgotten. Zach Braff dedicated the latest episode of his “Fake Doctors, Real Friends” podcast to close friend Nick Cordero — and revealed some heartbreaking details about the Broadway actor’s final moments.
“Just for clarity’s sake, he didn’t have COVID-19 anymore,” the Scrubs alum, 45, explained on Tuesday, July 7, as he discussed Cordero’s battle with the novel coronavirus with cohost Donald Faison. “What COVID did to Nick is what it does to a lot of people, it comes in and wreaks havoc on your body. Then it leaves and you don’t have it anymore, but you’re left with what the doctors called ‘lungs that look like Swiss cheese.'”
The Tony nominee was diagnosed with a severe case of COVID-19 in March and fought for more than 90 days before ultimately succumbing to the illness on Sunday, July 5. Cordero’s wife, Amanda Kloots, documented her family’s journey on social media and kept her followers informed every step of the way. Braff, who met the Canadian actor while working on Bullets Over Broadway in 2014, hosted Cordero’s wife, 38, and son, Elvis, in his Los Angeles home during his hospital stay.
Though “she was never able to see him fully conscious again,” Braff applauded Kloots for her unbreakable positivity over the last three months. Due to social distancing protocols, Braff and his girlfriend, Florence Pugh, were unable to comfort Kloots in her time of need.
“We would literally stand 10 feet away from her and watch our friend sobbing,” he said on Tuesday. “Can you imagine how tragic this is? Your partner’s in the hospital, you can’t even be there? You can’t be by their side, you can’t hug them, you can’t kiss them, you can’t cheer them on. You have to do it over a FaceTime that a generous nurse has arranged.”
Cordero faced a number of different complications from his coronavirus diagnosis, which resulted in an amputated leg and temporary pacemaker. By the end of his life, “his blood pressure wasn’t strong enough,” meaning that he would have had to lose his fingers and toes “had he lived.” While there were moments of hope, Braff said that his close friend “never came back” fully amid his health battle.
“He just deteriorated, deteriorated, deteriorated, until the point where they put him on the ventilator and then he never came back,” the Wish I Was Here director added. “He kind of woke up for a little bit and there was some exciting moments where they would say, ‘Nick if you can hear us look up,’ and he would do that, but he wouldn’t do it all the time. It was only occasionally.”
Despite the devastating loss, Braff went on to remember how his connection with Cordero came to be and all of the “great memories” they shared together during their time on Broadway. Before playing Cordero’s song, “Live Your Life,” in his honor, the New Jersey native promised that he would always be there for the family his friend left behind.
“We’re all going to be doing our part to give this child an extraordinary life,” he said. “I promise that I’m going to do that for the rest of my life and I want to make him proud.”