Life goes on until it doesn’t but don’t tell that to the indomitable JERRY LEWIS who’s still “knocking ‘em dead” at 88!

The ailing comedy legend is nearing “the end,” and friends say he’s ready to meet his son Joseph in heaven.

The 88-year-old appeared to bravely be facing his sad, last days, The National ENQUIRER has learned.

Shocking photos obtained by The ENQUIRER show “The Nutty Professor” wheelchair-bound on Jan. 8. He looked extremely pale while in Washington, D.C., before a scheduled comedy show.

Said a source: “Jerry is insisting on performing to the very end. That’s how much of a trouper he is!

“He doesn’t need the money. He’s worth a reported $50 million, but he needs to hear the applause a few final times before he meets his Maker.

“He’s joked, ‘I’ll die on stage – in the middle of a joke.’ But the fact is, it’s a struggle to go on.”

While Jerry is proud of his six sons and daughter, he desperately misses his beloved son Joseph. 

“He was rocked to the core when Joseph, who battled drugs, took his life in 2009 at age 45. Not a day goes by when Jerry doesn’t think of him,” the insider divulged.

After his son’s tragic death, a shattered Jerry said: “To this day, I don’t understand it because it’s unfair … I beat myself a thousand times.”

Meanwhile, Jerry has battled prostate cancer and suffered two heart attacks. He has type 1 diabetes and took the steroid prednisone for pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic lung disease. 

Jerry also remains in severe spinal pain, a result of years of pratfalls.

Added the source: “Jerry’s accomplished so much! He raised nearly $2.5 billion for the Muscular Dystrophy Association through his annual charities. He was one of a kind.”