Greg Doherty/Getty Images Demian Bichir and Stefanie Sherk
The actor, 57, shared a heartfelt post on Instagram Friday alongside a photo of Sherk, who died by suicide at the age of 43 in April 2019.
“On your birthday and every day we all love you and miss your pretty blue smile, deeply,” he wrote. “You are much needed in these extraordinary times. Forever beloved Stefanie Sherk.”
Last month, Bichir opened up about his wife in a guest column for Deadline, sharing that Sherk's death came after she began suffering from sleep deprivation and used a “terrible cocktail of medication,” including pills for sleep and anxiety.
“Losing our beloved Stefanie took us all by surprise,” he wrote. “My wife’s beautiful life was close to perfect. We were a team. We were each other’s fuel and happiness. We were soul mates. Plain and simple. We had so many plans and projects together. We both knew how difficult it is for any actor to ignite a career in this industry, so we fought with passion and determination, although many times you feel like throwing in the towel we continued with faith supporting each other.”
Bichir went on to write that Sherk, a model and actress, dealt with the “constant rejection” of the entertainment industry “better than anyone I know.”
“But when a human being can’t sleep, nothing goes right,” Bichir continued. “Sleep deprivation is the fastest way to desperation and absolute fear. Dark thoughts are everything your mind is able to think of. When this takes your entire family by surprise there’s very little you can do. Functional depression is absolutely invisible and no one around a depressed person may know something is not right.”
Sherk began using a sleeping pill with “terrible side effects,” he wrote, and eventually was prescribed an anxiety medicine as well for her lack of sleep, creating a “terrible cocktail of medication that created a very scary and lonely state of mind for our girl.”
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Stefanie Sherk and Demian Bichir
Eventually, Bichir said Sherk began seeing a specialist they believed could help, but she died shortly after.
“Time was ticking and we found our hands tied until we found what we strongly and faithfully believed was the answer to Stefanie’s anxiety and sleep deprivation,” he said. “The new specialist initiated a new plan immediately, that we followed strictly and hopefully but Stefanie’s soul couldn’t bear the pain any longer and two days into this new treatment we lost her smile forever.”
Nearly two years after Sherk’s death, Bichir added that his words were “not a cry for compassion” but rather “a wake up call.”
“It’s imperative for everyone involved in our kind of story to step up and consider seriously what we’re doing wrong and what needs to be modified in order to make us more human and empathetic not only in the medical arena but in the laws and regulations that surround our health system,” he wrote.
“Why do I write this now? Because when you lose a loved one the way we lost my beautiful wife, time stops. Nothing makes sense for a long period of time. Make no mistake, it’s never too late to alert everyone. As for us, we continue our path into healing. Grieving and mourning hasn’t been easy and it will take us our entire lives to overcome the loss of such a beautiful human being, our forever beloved Stefanie Sherk,” Bichir concluded.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.