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In mid-December 2012, 8 Simple Rules was removed from ABC Family's weekday line-up, only to be added back in September 2013.

Crew members took him to a nearby hospital, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, where he was misdiagnosed as having a heart attack and as a result, his condition had worsened when physicians later diagnosed him with an aortic dissection, and he died that evening at the age of 54.

Following Ritter's death, ABC announced that 8 Simple Rules would continue after a hiatus, and would incorporate the death of his character.

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After the novelty of newly added ensemble characters wore off, the series returned to its original format.

The first three episodes of the series' second season had been completed when Ritter experienced discomfort during a rehearsal on the afternoon of September 11, 2003.

The three new episodes that Ritter completed were aired with Sagal introducing them.

8 Simple Rules returned two months after Ritter's death with a one-hour episode, "Goodbye", which was turned into a tribute to Ritter's character.

After Ritter's death, it had slipped to 50th, but was renewed for a third season, in which ABC moved the series to Friday at pm as part of its TGIF comedy line-up.

The series' creator and showrunner, Tracy Gamble, left the series for a time over creative differences prior to the third season, but he later returned as a consulting producer midway through the third season. Even before the third-season finale's airing, rumors began circulating that 8 Simple Rules was facing cancellation due to Ritter's death and poor ratings.

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