It’s to be a decade due to the fact that the death of comedian and actor Bernie Mac, who grew up on Chicago’s south Side.

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Born young name Jeffery McCullough, Mac met his wife, Rhonda McCullough, in ~ Chicago Vocational High School. The pair dated for two years prior to they married in 1977.

“I thought he would certainly be successful, the we’d have actually a quite house and be able to pay our bills,” McCullough said. “He saw beyond that. Ns remember him informing me, ‘You’re going to it is in rich, girl. If you desire to be with me, you much better ride this train!’ and also sure enough I acquired on board.”

After one year the marriage, McCullough gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Je’Niece.

Before hitting the big, Mac hosted a variety of jobs, consisting of as a truck driver, restaurant manager, mover and also basketball coach, amongst others. McCullough worked as a nurse.

In the 1980s, Mac was diagnosed v sarcoidosis, an inflammation disease, i m sorry typically begins in the lungs, skin or lymph nodes. The reason of the condition is unknown, and also it does not have actually a cure.

The pair had been married because that 31 year at the moment of Mac’s death in respectable 2008. He was 50 years old and died from complications from pneumonia. 

“When you lose someone that you love, the pain really never goes away,” McCullough said. “ that becomes controlled for you due to the fact that you recognize you need to live and carry on.”

In 1990, Mac won first place in the fearbut Lite Comedy Search. Complying with the win, Mac began to receive much more recognition. In the ‘90s, he showed up on “Def Comedy Jam,” one HBO comedy collection produced through music mogul Russell Simmons.

The collection helped beginning the careers of plenty of prominent black comedians, consisting of Dave Chappelle, bill Bellamy, Damon Wayans, Jamie Foxx, Mike Epps and also Chris Tucker.

The Original kings of Comedy tourism in 2000 thrust Mac also further into the spotlight. The toured alongside comedians Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer and also D.L. Hughley. At the time, Mac to be the only one of the four without a tv show.

Mac later on inked a attend to Fox because that the program, "The Bernie Mac Show." the premiered in 2001 and also was based loosely on Mac’s stand-up comedy native the Original monarchs of Comedy Tour. The present was on waiting for five seasons and received a Peabody Award, the Humanitas Prize, a Primetime Emmy Award, three NACCP image Awards for exceptional Comedy series and was likewise honored through the Television movie critics Association.

Mac got the NAACP photo Award for outstanding Actor in a Comedy series for 4 years in a heat for his function on the show, and also several Emmy nominations.

“His comedy and also his exhilaration was constantly based from life,” McCullough said. “What you saw on the TV show, that’s what you saw in actual life.”

Mac’s success likewise extended to the large screen, with duties in movies such as “Ocean’s Eleven” and also its 2 sequels, to add “Charlie’s Angels: full Throttle,” “Head that State,” “What’s The Worst thing That might Happen,” “Bad Santa,” “Mr. 3000,” “Guess Who,” “Pride” and also “Transformers,” among others.

McCullough credits the strong foundation of the couple’s relationship prior to his fame for keeping them with each other as Mac’s career took off.

“We didn’t live in the spotlight,” McCullough said. “Once he to be finished with making a movie or doing a TV show, he constantly came earlier home. We had currently been v so lot together in our life as a couple. By the moment the success came, us had been in our marital relationship for end 15 years, and by the time, you understand who’s in your corner and who’s not.”

McCullough claimed that once she could, she’d visit her husband on the collection of his productions and would then travel back home come Chicago to maintain their home.

“Chicago to be his home,” she said. “He loved being here. The food and also entertainment – he stated there to be no location like Chicago.”

As a husband and also father, McCullough claimed Mac to be a jokester. And while he chosen to play valuable jokes top top his family and others, that didn’t choose it as soon as anyone rather played pranks at his expense, she said.

McCullough stated that Mac and also his daughter, Je’Niece, to be alike in personality, and also that the two shared a deep passion for music. He was also really protective. Mac’s portrayal of Percy Jones in “Guess Who” mirrored what Mac was like in actual life with Je’Niece, McCullough said.

Mac was likewise a doting grand to the couple’s nephew Jasmine, who was 18 month old as soon as Mac died, McCullough said.

Although it’s only been a decade since his death, McCullough claimed there have actually been medical advancements in diagnosis and screening because that sarcoidosis.

“It’s tho a hard an illness to diagnose,” she said. “I execute see strides being made together we proceed to research and raise money for funds to research. I check out there is development in trying to uncover a cure because that this disease.”

In 2007, Mac started the Bernie Mac structure with the on purpose of making use of his affect to advocate and create awareness for those suffering from the disease. McCullough now heads the foundation, which raises funds and supports research concerned the disease.

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The Bernie Mac structure is hosting Bernie Mac Night v the Bulls throughout the Bulls" house game against the gold State warrior at 7 p.m. On Monday, Oct. 29. The occasion will storage Mac"s 61st birthday.