AceShowbiz - %cSean Astin% opened up about her late mother %cPatty Duke%'s struggle before she passed away on Tuesday, March 29. The 45-year-old actor said that her mother, who died of sepsis from a ruptured intestine, "had been suffering terribly."
"She was surrounded by her family," Astin told Entertainment Tonight. "It was in the middle of the night and it was a race to get there. It was a very powerful experience. And then, in her last moments, she was at peace."
Astin said that his mother, who went public with her bipolar disorder decades ago, was known for helping people with mental illness. According to the actor, Duke tried to embrace people with psychiatric health issues by sharing her experience.
"The more she opened up, the more she shared of her pain. It is very instructive for people," Astin said. "This  bipolar diagnosis was a watershed. Now she had a new identity and a whole new mission - a whole new sense of purpose - and that was to share what she had gone through with other people."
Astin established the Patty Duke Mental Health Project in his mother's honor just hours after her death. He has set a fundraising goal of $250,000 and the fund has garnered more than $20,000 as of now.