How Mary Tyler Moore's Vision Loss Affected Her Final Days and Last TV Appearance: 'Everyone Came to Her'

"She tried to hide that for as long as she could. But at the end, she was unable to even walk across the room safely," Moore’s widower Robert Levine tells PEOPLE of the star’s dwindling sight

<p>TV Land/Everett </p>

TV Land/Everett

Mary Tyler Moore’s widower Dr. Robert Levine is opening up about how the legendary actress’s vision loss affected her final days and her last television appearance.

The cardiologist, 68, recalls in this week’s issue of PEOPLE that the Emmy winner had already lost most of her eyesight from diabetes when she joined fellow Mary Tyler Moore Show alums Cloris Leachman, Valerie Harper, Betty White and Georgia Engel for the Sept. 4, 2013, episode of TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland.

“We had to sit her at the table — everyone came to her,” he says.

Related: Mary Tyler Moore: Her Life in Pictures

Prior to her death in 2017, Levine reveals Moore attempted to conceal her vision loss from diabetic retinal disease, which can lead to blindness.

“She tried to hide that for as long as she could,” he says. “But at the end, she was unable to even walk across the room safely. Imagine Mary as an independent, autonomous, joyful dancer now unable to be active — that theft of self.”

Related: Inside Mary Tyler Moore&#39;s 33-Year Love Story with Robert Levine, Who Stayed by Her Side in Her Final Hours

<p>Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock </p>

Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock

The couple — who married in 1983 — spent her final days at their home in Connecticut where she found comfort by “listening to music” including Frank Sinatra and show tunes, as they would “sit and talk.”

Her health struggles inspired Levine to establish the Mary Tyler Moore Vision Initiative following her death. After witnessing his wife’s health challenges, his goal has been to “to create a world without vision loss from diabetes” with the hope that her story can help others.

Levine says he is reminded of the star’s vibrant spirit when he watches the new HBO documentary Being Mary Tyler Moore, he shares, “I cry. I laugh. I’m just bowled over by how extraordinary she was.”

For more about Moore’s final days, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

Being Mary Tyler Moore premieres Friday at 8 p.m. ET on HBO and can be streamed on Max.

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Read the original article on People.