There are a lot of emotions that viewers go through while watching AMC’s Breaking Bad, from muscle-cramping tension to ethics-twisting horror, and the end of each episode is usually a gut punch of some kind. But when it came to Sunday’s episode, the start of the second half of the series’ fifth season, the only moment that truly mattered in the long run was the pre-credit tribute, “Dedicated to our friend Kevin Cordasco.” Like many of the other 5.9 million viewers, I had no idea who the dedication was referring to at the time. But as reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the 16-year-old Cordasco was a huge Breaking Bad fan up until his death this past March, but not before getting to hang out with the cast and creator Vince Gilligan.

For the past six years, the Calabasas, California native was fighting the aggressive childhood cancer neuroblastoma, and his father, whose name is also Kevin, said his son was somewhat inspired by Bryan Cranston’s portrayal of Walter White. Not his skill with cooking methamphetamine of course, but it was “the way he took control of his illness, and his life, that really resonated with Kevin.” His father said the younger Kevin and his friends “watched it obsessively and ate pizza in his bedroom,” and that the show helped him cope with the pain caused by surgeries and treatments.

The younger Cordasco’s godmother is friends with agent Kim Byrd with Innovative Artists, who reached out and received almost immediate results from Cranston and Gilligan. “Bryan and his wife sat with Kevin for hours at the hospital,” said the father. “And then Vince came to our house, along with some of the cast. They even invited Kevin to the writers’ room. He was beyond thrilled.” Below you can see Gilligan and Cordasco standing with the Danny Trejo’s severed head, last seen strapped to the back of an explosive tortoise.

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Gilligan invited Cordasco, his mother Melodie and his younger brother Cade out to Albuquerque for a set visit earlier this year, but Kevin was too ill to travel by that time. Gilligan even reportedly offered to let Cordasco in on how the show ended, granting him the finale’s script as a gift, so long as he legally agreed to keep the details to himself.

Cordasco refused, however, opting to wait to watch the finale for himself, also unsure whether he could keep from spoiling things. Obviously, he’ll never know how the finale ends, and the implications of that are more depressing than anything a television show could possibly put forth.

We know his family has been coping with their loss since March, but we at Cinema Blend send our thoughts and prayers to the Cordasco family, hoping they’ve found their own method of solace.

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