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by Zach Johnson | Sat., Dec. 31, 2016 7:40 AM
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Todd Fisher is looking for a silver lining.
After the sudden deaths of his 60-year-old sister Carrie Fisher and his 84-year-old mother Debbie Reynolds, Todd appeared on ABC's 20/20 Friday to discuss the legacy they left behind. In his first television interview since their deaths, he explained, "From the family's perspective, this is Debbie's destiny. She didn't want to leave Carrie and did not want to her to be alone."
As for Debbie, who died following a stroke, Todd told Elizabeth Vargas, "She didn't die of a broken heart. She just left to be with Carrie...Carrie was a force of nature in her own right, you know. It took another force of nature to bridle and work with that and she was great with her."
Debbie died within a day of the Star Wars actress, who'd suffered a heart attack Dec. 23.
"It wasn't that she was sitting around inconsolable—not at all. She simply said that she didn't get to see Carrie come back from London. She expressed how much she loved my sister. She then said she really wanted to be with Carrie," he said. "In those precise words, and within 15 minutes from that conversation, she faded out. Within 30 minutes, she technically was gone."
"She started to have a stroke, and she just effectively went to sleep and didn't wake up. She closed her eyes, peacefully like you're going to sleep, and she literally went to sleep and left. My mother, if anybody, had somehow a way to do that, and I watched it happen in front of my face," he told Elizabeth. "I was on her bed with her, and I watched her leave and go to Carrie."
The mother-daughter duo became closer than ever in recent years. Todd described their relationship as a "magical" love story with "many ups and downs, but not at the heart level."
Todd and his niece, Carrie's 24-year-old daughter Billie Lourd, are planning a joint funeral. The late actresses will be buried next to each other "and among friends," including actress Bette Davis and pianist Liberace, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in L.A. "We're brokenhearted, those of us that are left behind. We also are happy that they're together. It's horrible. It's beautiful. It's magical they're together," Todd admitted. "It's beyond words. It's beyond understanding."
Todd and Billie chose the burial plots after a hummingbird appeared flew by the area.
"My mother loves hummingbirds, and had hummingbirds in her yard," Todd told ABC News' Elizabeth. "We were going all over the place, and we got to this one place to look at this one thing, these hummingbirds came, and it was just like 'fait accompli,' as my mother would say."
Earlier, Todd told E! News HBO had reached out in hopes of making the documentary Bright Lights: Starring Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher part of the joint memorial. "Remarkably enough," he said, "the documentary is the greatest tribute you can imagine to both of them."
HBO's Bright Lights documentary airs Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. PT.
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