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TBBT: Mrs. Wolowitz's Unexpected Death Was Inspired By Real Events

Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) might be in a constant screaming match with his mother, Mrs. Wolowitz (Carol Ann Susi), but deep down, he truly loves her. This is evident in "The Big Bang Theory" Season 8, Episode 15 ("The Comic Book Store Regeneration"), when Howard gets a gut-wrenching phone call. His aunt calls him to break the news that his mom took a nap and never woke up.

This unexpected plotline was written into the show following the real-life death of Susi. In November 2014, the actress lost her battle with cancer at the age of 62, and "The Big Bang Theory" showrunners had a tough creative choice to make concerning the beloved, never-seen character.

"It took a while for that devastation to calm down before we could even think about it. We couldn't bring ourselves to start to think about it. Eventually the needs of the show [forced the issue] and we had to come up with a plan, and I don't think we could bring ourselves to replace the actor," Steve Molaro told The Hollywood Reporter. "The thought of it felt awful to us. That left us with two options: we send the character away — which seemed false and fake — or we go right into it and write it into the show, so that's what we chose to do."

There was an impromptu memorial for Carol Ann Susi just like in the episode

At the end of "The Big Bang Theory" Season 8, Episode 15 ("The Comic Book Store Regeneration"), as Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz (Melissa Rauch) set off to handle Mrs. Wolowitz's (Carol Ann Susi) affairs, the rest of the gang gathers at the apartment of Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) and Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) to share fond memories of her. During this scene, Leonard rallies everyone in a toast.

This bittersweet moment is very similar to what unfolded in real life amongst the cast and crew. After executive producer Chuck Lorre shared the news of Susi's untimely passing, that dark day soon transformed into something less sad.

"It was awful and everyone was crying," Steve Molaro told The Hollywood Reporter. "But what it turned into, quickly and beautifully, was an impromptu memorial where people started to share their wonderful memories of Carol Ann... The tone somehow managed to be heartbroken and celebratory of her at the same time, and we tried to capture a little bit of that at the end of [the] episode."