30 Rock actor still healing from accident

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In his first television interview since he was badly injured in a highway crash last year, an emotional Tracy Morgan told NBC's Today show on Monday that he did not remember the accident that killed his friend and was not yet ready to return to his comedy career.

Holding a cane in his right hand, the star of the television shows 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live, thanked friends and family members, including his children and fiancee, and colleagues such as Tina Fey.

"I've been down - they keep my spirits up," he said. "The case is settled but the pain is always going to be there."

Morgan, 46, suffered a serious head injury and broken bones and was left in a coma in June last year, when a luxury van transporting him on the New Jersey Turnpike was struck from behind by a Wal-Mart tractor-trailer. Comedian James McNair, who was known as Jimmy Mack, was killed in the collision, and other passengers, including comedian Ardie Fuqua and Morgan's assistant Jeff Millea, were injured.

Morgan spent months recuperating and still experiences forgetfulness, headaches and nosebleeds. He said he did not learn of McNair's death until after he came out of the coma.

"He was a loving man and he was a warm man," he said through tears. "He was a good man. It's just hard for me to see that he's gone."

A report later issued by the National Transportation Safety Board said the driver of the tractor- trailer, Kevin Roper, was going at 104kmh in a 72kmh zone. New Jersey prosecutors charged Roper with one count of vehicular homicide and several counts of assault by auto, saying in their charging documents he had not slept for more than 24 hours at the time of the accident. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

It was announced last week that Morgan had settled a lawsuit against Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, for an undisclosed amount.

Wal-Mart has also paid a US$10-million (S$13.5-million) settlement to McNair's children.

"Bones heal," Morgan said. "But the loss of my friend will never heal. But I'm happy that Wal-Mart stepped up to the plate in a tremendous way, and they took full responsibility."

Asked if he planned to get back to performing, he said: "I love comedy and I can't wait to get back to her. But right now my goal is just to heal and get better. Because I'm not 100 per cent yet. I'm not. And when I'm there, you'll know it. I'll get back to making you laugh. I promise you."

In another portion of an interview that was shown on Monday on NBC's Nightly News, he said he had experienced depression after the collision.

When asked how he was getting through this, he said: "I love comedy and I wonder how I'm gonna be funny again."

He said that on some future date, "I'm going to grab that mike, and I'm never going to let it go".

He added: "I'm gonna be the funniest I can be 'cause I ain't never gonna take life for granted no more."

 
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