Dr. Phil McGraw‘s sister-in-law Cindi Broaddus, who survived an acid attack 17 years ago, has passed away. She was 68.
Broaddus, who was the sister of Phil’s wife, Robin, died on Monday, Feb. 19, according to her obituary on The Duncan Banner, and her funeral service was scheduled for Friday, Feb. 23 — her birthday.
In honor of Broaddus, Robin shared a photo collage of her sister to Instagram on Feb. 24. “I am reposting @branlo35 post….I am so proud of you and Angela and Shelli. We are all heartbroken and will miss her everyday. She was our hero. You 3 all made her life a dream. She lived everyday for her daughters and you always made her the happiest woman ever! I will celebrate her and her strength and her unwavering support for me the rest of my life. I miss her dearly.”
Her death comes nearly two decades after she was the victim of a random acid attack in 2001.
“In 2001, Cindi survived a random act of violence when someone threw a jar of sulfuric acid off an overpass,” the obituary states. “This one act started her journey of courage and the inspiration for her book A Random Act. Spreading her message of courage, she inspired a multitude of people. She was brave until the very end.”
Broaddus — who worked as a “Cable One employee for 27 years,” according to the obituary — was sleeping in the passenger seat of a car while being driven when the acid was dropped through the windshield and she was awakened from the pain.
“I remember being really calm and talking to Jim and telling him to pull the car over and stuff,” Broaddus told Duncan Regional Hospital employees in 2017, according to KSWO. “He, on the other hand, said I was screaming bloody murder and I was yelling and that I was dying and I did think I wasn’t going to live very long. I thought I was dying.”
She was hospitalized for three weeks and was given a 30 percent change of survival, KSWO reported.
Following the accident, Broaddus appeared on Phil’s Dr. Phil talk show, when she discussed the accident.
“My family knows first hand the courage it takes to survive a moment of crisis,” Phil said on the show. “My first guest, Cindi, is my wife’s sister. For Cindi, the horrible moment came when a maniac did the unthinkable.”
The acid burned 70 percent of Broaddus’ body, including her face, and she had to undergo more than 12 surgeries.
Reflecting on the horrific moment, Broaddus told Phil on the program: “I knew I was dying, and I had a very calm peace about me because I had a message that came to me that I had to get through. … ‘You have got to tell my children how much I love them and that I’m not ready to leave them.’ ”
“I’ve decided not to wake up every day bitter and angry,” she said on Dr. Phil.
Despite the pain she endured, Broaddus maintained a positive outlook on life and wrote a book — A Random Act: An Inspiring True Story of Fighting to Survive and Choosing to Forgive — about her story.
“I wished it hadn’t happened but it’s given me the opportunity to do good,” she said in 2017, according to KSWO, which reported that the perpetrator still had not been caught as of last year.
“I’ve had countless people tell me that if they hadn’t heard me speak they wouldn’t have never done this or done that,” she shared. “It’s just, I just love it. I love telling the story and just seeing if I can help one person.”
She is survived by her three daughters, five grandchildren, one brother and three sisters, including Robin McGraw.
Closer Weekly was first to report the news.