February 21, 2019
On Monday afternoon, flamenco guitarist and singer Charo, lost her husband of 40 years when he committed suicide at their home. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Charo’s husband was 78-years-old. He had been suffering from a skin condition and depression when he took his own life.
Kjell Rasten was a Californian businessman, manager, and producer. He’s produced shows like “Late Night,” “International Championship of Magic,” and “Robert Young with the Young.”
Rasten also managed his wife, Charo's career with the pair marrying in 1978. The businessman was her second husband.
Charo, 68, was previously married to bandleader Xavier Cugat from 1966 to 1978, but she claimed it was just a business arrangement. The musician and Rasten had one son, Shel Rasten, 37, the drummer for the band Treazen.
In 2015, the couple and their son appeared on an episode of ABC’s “Celebrity Wife Swap.” They swapped with Charo’s “The Love Boat” co-star Jill Whelan.
On Tuesday, the actress and singer confirmed the news that her husband had committed suicide. Rasten had been suffering for years with a “rare and horrible” skin condition called bullous pemphigoid and depression.
In a tribute to him on Instagram, Charo said that her husband was “an amazing man, a great husband and the best father I could imagine to our son.” She revealed that the depression and the skin condition “along with the many medications he needed to take, became too much for him, and he ended his suffering.”
Bullous pemphigoid is a chronic condition that causes itchy blisters all over the body. According to Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton, a dermatologist, “It is frustrating because there is no cure, just treatments that send the disorder to remission. But it is a chronic condition that can recur for many years without any clear aggravating factors.”
Elderly people, men more so than women, are usually the ones afflicted by the condition. It’s an autoimmune disease, which means it’s a malfunction in the immune system and it has no clear cause.
“It’s not specifically caused by any specific factors but has been seen to arise after ingesting certain medications, like certain antibiotics, diuretics, blood pressure medication, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.”
According to reports, Charo was home when her husband took his life and she was the one who called 911. A witness said the singer ran from the house screaming, covered in blood when she found him.
During her phone call, she had initially thought Rasten had fallen and hit his head. She was “inconsolable” and rode with her husband in the ambulance.
The Beverly Hills Police Department also confirmed that officers were dispatched to a 911 call at the couple’s home at 12:31 p.m. on Monday. There they found a male subject “with life-threatening injuries.”
Authorities tried life-saving measures on Rasten and transported him to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He passed away “Shortly after 1:00 p.m.” due to “his injuries.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.
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