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After a hiatus, the series returned and continued without Ritter, with the producers deciding to kill off Paul and not replace him.James Garner and David Spade later joined the main cast as Cate's father and nephew, Jim Egan and C. Barnes, in an attempt to fill the void left by Ritter.While 8 Simple Rules ratings were well above those of the surrounding TGIF shows during its third season, ABC cancelled it due to the perceived inability to sell reruns of the show into syndication (a fourth season would have given the show the 100 episodes necessary to enter daily syndication).On July 11, 2005 (less than two months after ABC officially cancelled it), The WB network announced it would air back-to-back repeats of all 76 episodes of 8 Simple Rules from 4–5 p.m.Crew members took him to a nearby hospital, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, where he was misdiagnosed as having a heart attack and as a result, his condition had worsened when physicians later diagnosed him with an aortic dissection, and he died that evening at the age of 54.
8 Simple Rules returned two months after Ritter's death with a one-hour episode, "Goodbye", which was turned into a tribute to Ritter's character.The trio played siblings on the ABC comedy from 2002 to 2005. During their trip down memory lane, they also looked back at their time with their late costars, John Ritter and James Garner. The 54-year-old had been rushed to hospital straight from a rehearsal for 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter.The final series, its title trimmed down to 8 Simple Rules, ended in 2005, having won a cinematography Emmy in 2004.