Gugu Liberato: Accident and Death

Created on 25 Nov, 2019
Last Update on 11 Sep, 2023

The Accident

Gugu arrived in Orlando on November 20, 2019 to spend five days off with his family. About 30 minutes after arriving at his residence, he climbed into the attic to increase the temperature of the air conditioner. Gugu was known for doing minor repairs and household chores in his daily life.

However, buildings in Brazil are very different from buildings in the United States. In Brazil the attic floor is usually a concrete slab strong enough to support a person’s weight. While in USA it is a wood beams covered with a weaker drywall, that doesn’t support a person’s weight.

Industry professionals have the practice of relying only on the wood beams. However, Gugu did not know that and stepped on the drywall. It is not known exactly what happened, but the drywall broke, opening a hole of ⌀ ±50cm, and Gugu fell down one floor (≈ 4m high):

At the time of the accident his partner, doctor Rose Miriam Di Matteo, and his three children were at home. Hearing the noise, Rose was the first to approach and provide first aid. He was already unconscious and his head covered in blood.

An adult falling upright at such height is expected to fracture limbs and/or pelvis, but not the head. This happens because, as a reflex, people tend to use their limbs to absorb the fall and protect their head. Therefore, Gugu probably hit his head on the corner of some furniture, knocking him out before hitting the floor. The severity of the injury suggests that Gugu had no reaction and fell helpless.

Initially it was considered to drive him to the hospital but, after some rational analysis, the emergency service was chosen. The call was made by the firstborn and the rescue arrived in five minutes.

While the details of the fall had not yet been fully disclosed, several rumors were circulating. Examples:

  • The impact was aggravated by beating his head hard on the corner of a furniture (or the iron stairs).

  • Both sides of the head were injured.

  • Gugu was placing Christmas ornaments (or tree) outside (or on the roof) of his house.

  • Gugu was in the attic rearranging the air conditioner in order to pass some Christmas ornaments.

  • Gugu climbed into the attic to change the filter of the air conditioner that wasn’t working.

    ^Watch the video: SBT Brasil (21/11/19)^

Accident Location

Gugu bought the house, which is in a luxury condominium, about four months ago. The house has 630 m2 and was sold for ≈US$6.7Mi. The real estate website describes it as:

“A private oasis with a charming saltwater pool, equipped with spa, kitchen and gas fireplace.”

Some features of the property:

  • two floors
  • six bedrooms
  • seven bathrooms
  • living room with fireplace
  • gourmet kitchen with granite counter tops, high ceiling and windows facing a lake with a fountain
  • rooms with private bathrooms
  • office
  • gym

Previously, the family’s residence was in Celebration, a town near Orlando. The new house in the Windermere neighborhood is close to the first one (≈35km). The change was because of the children’s education, only 5 minutes by car to the school. It was there that Gugu planned to slow down his busy life from Brazil.

^Gugu Liberato Residence, Windermere District, Orlando / FL, USA^


The emergency service arrived quickly. But the trip to the hospital is not short and it took 27 minutes.

^Orlando Health Medical Center, Florida, USA^

Due to the fall, Gugu had a severe fracture in the right temporal bone. This caused a traumatic hemorrhage and bleeding spread around the brain:

At the hospital, he was found to be level 3 on the Glasgow scale. This scale measures brain activity and ranges from 3 to 15. This means that Gugu’s brain activity was already critical when he got there. In situations of this severity, most international protocols recommend non-surgical intervention. Otherwise, “heroic” measures tend to increase the chance of death or persistent vegetative state.

Initially he had some respiratory activity and therefore his brain was not dead yet. However, the condition deteriorated quickly and subsequent examinations confirmed this. After six hours, brain death was confirmed. There was no more brain activity. US law does not require it, but doctors also performed an angiography, which detected that there was no more blood flow to the brain.

Family members and director Homero Salles, rushed on Thursday morning (21) to Orlando. His mother, Maria do Céu Moraes Liberato, 90 years old, and his brother, Amandio Liberato, arrived there around 4 pm (local time).

Maria do Céu arrived at the hospital reception supported by a wheelchair along with Amandio. The grandchildren were already waiting for her, in a very touching family reunion scene. She was constantly seen with her hands on her head in shock. Gugu’s eldest son, João Augusto, also needed to be supported at the hospital door.

According to local laws, João Augusto, Gugu’s oldest son, 18 years old, was the person in charge to make decisions about medical treatment when the patient himself was unable to decide. Since Rose and Gugu did not have a union, she could not legally make such decisions.

While an official bulletin was not released, several communicators anticipated Gugu’s death, causing some controversy. Example:

“According to a source from columnist Amaury Jr., the state of Gugu Liberato is considered irreversible and his wife, Rose Miriam Di Matteo, even fainted when she found out the seriousness of the case.”

Source: Gugu Liberato’s wife fainted after knowing the seriousness of the case | Metrópoles_

The death of the presenter Gugu Liberato was confirmed on Friday (22) at 21:06 Brasília time, by the presenter’s press office under the authorization of the family. It was Gugu’s wish that all his organs be donated and the family fulfilled. The American medical team reported that this could help up to 50 people.


1st Announcement

The severity of the accident was not mentioned in the first announcement:

11/21/2019 at 4:15 pm

Please be informed that this Wednesday, 20, presenter Gugu Liberato had an accident at his home in Orlando and is in observation for 48 hours.

We will report back to you as soon as a medical report is issued and we count on all the press friends.

Esther Rocha
Gugu Liberato Communication Advisory

Based solely on this announcement, the public had the impression that it was not a serious accident. However, several rumors were already anticipating Gugu’s death. Which caused a lot of confusion over the web.

2nd Announcement

A second announcement was fully read by William Bonner in the penultimate story of Rede Globo’s Jornal Nacional (watch the video: Gugu Liberato’s Accident at Jornal Nacional):

22/11/2019 at 20h50m

On Wednesday, 20, presenter Gugu Liberato had an accident (a crash) at his Orlando home and is under observation.

Gugu is in the Intensive Care Unit and alive, being accompanied by the local medical team. The information circulating about a supposed death of the presenter is untrue.

Gugu’s family members arrived in Orlando around 7:30 pm this Thursday and will talk to the medical staff in person.

According to hospital procedures, only tomorrow, Friday, a medical report will be released first to the family.

Like all family, friends, fans and media professionals, we are confident in your recovery and appreciate your support.

We will inform you again. We count on your understanding.

Esther Rocha
Gugu Liberato Communication Advisory

3rd Announcement

A third announcement confirmed Gugu’s death:


This is a moment we never imagined living. With deep sadness, family members report the death of their father, brother, son, friend, businessman, journalist and presenter Antonio Augusto Moraes Liberato (Gugu Liberato), 60, in Orlando, Florida, United States.

Our Gugu has always lived simply and joyfully, surrounded by his family and extremely dedicated to his children. And so it was until the end of life, after a home accident.

He accidentally fell from a height of about four meters while repairing the attic air conditioner. He was promptly rescued by the rescue team and admitted to the Orlando Health Medical Center, where he remained in the Intensive Care Unit, accompanied by the local medical team.

On admission, the Glasgow Glasgow scale was 3 and the initial exams found intracranial bleeding. Due to neurological severity, no surgical procedure was indicated. During the observation period the absence of brain activity was found. Brain death was confirmed by Prof. Dr. Guilherme Lepski, a Brazilian neurosurgeon called by the family, who after seeing the images of the exams in detail, confirmed the irreversibility of the clinical picture before his mother Maria do Céu, brothers Amandio Augusto and Aparecida Liberato, and the mother of their children, Rose Miriam Di Matteo.

We don’t have details about the transfer to Brazil yet. Funeral and burial information will be passed as soon as everything is set.

He leaves three children, João Augusto of 18 years and the twins Marina and Sophia of 15 years.

Given his wishes, the family authorized the donation of all organs.

Gugu has always reflected on the true values ​​of life and how fragile it is. His departure leaves us groundless, but reinforces our certainty that he lived fully. I miss you, there are the memories - which are many - and the certainty that God now receives a dear child, and the sky gets a star that emanates light and peace.

Family and staff

São Paulo, November 22, 2019

* Glasgow Scale of 3 - used to measure awareness and progression of brain damage in a patient.

4th Announcement


Following is Gugu Liberato’s transfer and wake information:

  • We do not have the date of the body’s arrival in Brazil. This whole process is following the legal process. We believe that before Wednesday this will not happen.
  • At your will, all organs of the presenter were donated. According to the medical team responsible, this donation could benefit up to 50 people.
  • The wake will take place at the Legislative Assembly of the State of São Paulo and will be open to the public so that they can say goodbye to Gugu. The date has not been set.
  • Gugu will be buried in the family grave at Gethsemane Cemetery in São Paulo.

As new information becomes available, we will inform you promptly.

Once again we appreciate the affection and respect of all friends of the press.

Esther Rocha
Communication Advisory
São Paulo, November 23, 2019

Consumer Rights

The USA is one of the champions regarding consumer rights lawsuits:

  • Philip Morris ordered to pay $28Mi
    A woman with cancer said she became ill from smoking and the company did not warn of the risks.
  • Owens Corning ordered to pay $1.2Bi
    The lawsuit claimed that asbestos-based construction products caused cancer.

To protect themselves, companies often put all kinds of warnings on their products. In some cases, these warnings even seem exaggerated and defy common sense:

  • “Do not use to dry pets.”, microwave manual.
  • “Attention! This is not underwear. Do not try to wear like pants.”, wristwatch manual.
  • “Do not try to stop the saw with your hands or genitals.”, chainsaw manual.

Thus, it is strange that home builders still do not place warning signs on a regular basis in attics. Accidents there is somewhat common in USA. Not only with uninformed foreigners, but also among industry professionals. There are even lots of lawsuits and heavy fines:

Eventually, a fragile floor warning could prevent several accidents of this type. Including the one that killed Gugu Liberato.

^Safety signs that could eventually have saved Gugu Liberato’s life.^

Further Reading