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How Did Jack Pearson Die on This Is Us?

The tragic death of the father of "The Big Three" occurred on Super Bowl Sunday.

By Megan Lasher

This Is Us revolved around the lives of the three Pearson siblings — Kate (Chrissy Metz), Kevin (Justin Hartley), and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) — called "The Big Three" by their parents. And, the heartfelt series had hinted at the premature death of Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia), their father, for nearly two full seasons before finally revealing the full story to fans. 

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Jack's death left a big mark on This Is Us viewers and the remaining Pearsons, making it so no one watches the Super Bowl in quite the same way again.

Revisit the episode that changed the show forever. 

This Is Us's Super Bowl Sunday Episode 

Milo Ventimiglia As Jack on This Is Us

Season 2, Episode 14 ("Super Bowl Sunday"), aired on February 4, 2018 — directly after the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

In the show's timeline, the episode (which also occurred on their Super Bowl Sunday) was the 20th anniversary of Jack's death, leading Kate and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) to turn to the small things they used to remember Jack, like old videos and his favorite lasagna recipe. 

The episode's timely airing made it the most-watched This Is Us episode, with over 26 million viewers, according to Nielsen ratings. 

The House Fire that Led to Jack Pearson's Injuries

Milo Ventimiglia As Jack

At the very beginning of the episode, audiences saw Jack wake up to a burning house. He quickly directed teenaged Kate (Hannah Zeile), Randall (Niles Fitch), and Rebecca  outside the window and off the roof, even using a mattress to protect Kate from the fumes as he escorted her out of the house. 

Kevin (Logan Shroyer) was spending the night at house of Sophie Inman (Amanda Leighton).

RELATED: Inside Jack & Rebecca's Unforgettable "Explosive" Fight From the Season 1 Finale

Once all four of them were on the front lawn, Jack heard the family's dog, Louis, barking. He went back into the house and his family looked on as the window he'd gone through became engulfed in flames. After a few heartbreaking moments, Jack appeared at the front of the house with the dog and a bag of important possessions in hand. 

What killed Jack Pearson on This Is Us?

The firefighters and EMTs on the scene saw to Jack's burns and warned that he would need medical help for his smoke inhalation, so he sat with a gas mask as Kate and Randall figured out where to spend the night. 

Later in the episode, Rebecca and Jack sat in the hospital, where the doctor examined his throat and lungs again. Jack was light-hearted and joked with his wife about not getting batteries for the smoke detectors, and told her that she was "All [he'd] ever needed."

However, just after she left him to book the family hotel rooms and buy candy from the vending machine, Jack went into cardiac arrest, caused by stress on his heart and lungs from the smoke. 

What started the fire that killed Jack Pearson?

The previous episode, Season 2, Episode 13 ("That'll Be The Day") showed the Pearsons' neighbors gifting them a crockpot... while Rebecca was still pregnant. The neighbor warned that the switch was a bit faulty, but that otherwise it had made plenty of great family meals for them. 

RELATED: See Every Actor Who's Played Kevin, Kate, and Randall on This Is Us Through the Years

At the very end of the episode, that same crock pot began to spark and set fire to its surroundings. A montage of all of the family's best memories in the house was intercut with the fire slowly spreading throughout the kitchen and up the stairs, leaving viewers unsure of what would happen next. 

Watch all of This Is Us on NBC.com