The death of Michael Clarke Duncan at the age of 54 is all the more tragic following the news that “The Green Mile” star had quietly become engaged to marry Omarosa Manigault, a spokesperson for the late actor confirms to omg!.
One of the most polarizing figures in reality television, Omarosa – who famously stirred up trouble on “The Apprentice” – fell for the gentle giant soon after they met in the produce department at a Whole Foods grocery store in 2010. “I walked up to her and said, ‘Oh, you’re the mean girl from [‘Apprentice’],” Duncan, 54, recounted on “The Talk” earlier this year. “She said, ‘Yeah,’ then turned and walked away. I said [to myself]: That’s all you could come up with? So I went back and I apologized, and it was on after that.” Duncan went on to say that his lady love – who has reinvented herself in recent years, becoming an ordained minister in February 2012 – is nothing like the villainess persona she created on Donald Trump’s reality series. “She’s a very sweet person,” he gushed on the CBS talk show.
Duncan took things a step further when he spoke with The Urban Daily in 2011. “This woman is fantastic,” he gushed. “It’s just wonderful being with a person who you can see you spending the rest of your life with. When I say that a lot of people won’t understand because they don’t know her. I know her on another level and when I say she’s perfect for me, I mean just that: She is perfect for me.”
The playful pair, who loved to tease each other, called Los Angeles home and it was there that they often attended Lakers games or spent quiet nights at home enjoying her home-cooked meals and watching their favorite TV shows, including “Big Brother.” And it was Omarosa, 38, who found Duncan unresponsive at 2 a.m. on July 13 after he suffered a severe heart attack. She quickly sprung into action, performing CPR on the hulking 6’5”, 300-plus pound Academy Award nominee until paramedics arrived. Her quick thinking was credited for saving his life.
For eight weeks – until he passed away on Monday – Duncan was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and People reported that Omarosa was as devoted to him as ever. "She was literally there every second," a source told the magazine. While he left the intensive care unit in early August, he never left the hospital, and Omarosa did everything in her power to help him recover. “She had doctors come from all over the country and the world to see him,” a rep for Omarosa told the New York Daily News. According to People, doctors believe that a second major cardiac episode is what ultimately killed him. However, he suffered major brain damage after the initial heart attack.
Although Omarosa kept vigil at Duncan’s bedside, a work obligation brought her out of town on Monday, so she wasn’t there when he passed away. Hours after he died, Omarosa arrived at Los Angeles International Airport and was sobbing as she made her way curbside to her waiting car. Through Duncan’s rep, she issued a statement confirming his death. In it, Omarosa was referred to as Duncan’s fiancée – which is the first time their engagement had been publicized. The rep later confirmed to omg! that Duncan and Omarosa were engaged, but she wouldn’t verify reports that the couple planned a January 2013 wedding.
On Tuesday, Omarosa broke her silence about her loss. “Thank you for your outpouring of love and support for my beloved Michael,” she wrote on Twitter. “He will truly be missed!”