In a moving tribute on social media, the Eat Travel Rock founder also remembered how the Hollywood legend was there for her after the death of her husband Bob Saget
The award-winning American television writer, film producer and activist died at the age of 101 on Tuesday, his reps confirmed in a statement.
Following the news, Rizzo, 44, posted a moving tribute to Lear on Instagram with several photos, including an image taken on Sunday at one of the Hollywood legend's "cigar nights," which Rizzo's late husband Bob Saget often attended before his sudden death at age 65 in January 2022.
"It was their monthly activity and I was the first 'gal' who ever have the honor of attending, in Bob's place of course," the Eat Travel Rock founder wrote in the caption. "I felt so fortunate to be able to be with Norman's closest friends just a couple days ago and share amazing stories of him and Bob. Treasured lifetime memories."
Related: Norman Lear's Career in Photos
In her tribute, Rizzo honored Lear as a "legend, pioneer, veteran, groundbreaker, artist, entertainer, wise sage, freedom fighter and storyteller" who was also "kind, loving, thoughtful, and dedicated friend."
"It truly was the honor of my lifetime to be in your life, and you were Bob's most cherished friend," she continued. "Every single day he was blown away that he got to be in your circle and loved by you. And by association, I also got to receive that love and I will take it with me all my days."
Rizzo also thanked Lear for "always being there" since Saget's death, adding that their visits and his phone calls and voicemails will be "cherished forever."
"What a profoundly brilliant and full life you got to lead, and you truly changed the world," she said. "Love you always, Norman. (And love you so very much, Lyn)"
Lear died on Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles of natural causes, according to a release from his representatives. His family has also requested privacy at this time, and will hold a private service for immediate relatives, they said.
The news was also confirmed on Lear's official Instagram account beside a black-and-white photo of the television legend smiling. In the post, Lear's team said he died "surrounded by his family as we told stories and sang songs until the very end."
"Norman lived a life in awe of the world around him. He marveled at his cup of coffee every morning, the shape of the tree outside his window, and the sounds of beautiful music. But it was people—those he just met and those he knew for decades—who kept his mind and heart forever young," the caption read. "As we celebrate his legacy and reflect on the next chapter of life without him, we would like to thank everyone for all the love and support."
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Lear was best known for creating multiple iconic TV series that established a socially-realistic genre and explored his democratic values, including All in the Family, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and The Jeffersons.
The doting husband and father of six is survived by wife Lyn and children Ellen (with ex-wife Charlotte Rosen), Kate and Maggie (with ex-wife Frances Loeb), and Benjamin, Madelaine and Brianna (with Lyn).
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