Actor and director Gene Wilder, known for his many iconic roles in films such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Blazing Saddles, The Producers and Young Frankenstein, has died at the age of 83.
Actor and director Gene Wilder, known for his many iconic roles in films such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Blazing Saddles, The Producers andYoung Frankenstein, has died at the age of 83.
“It is with indescribable sadness and blues, but with spiritual gratitude for the life lived that I announce the passing of husband, parent, and universal artist Gene Wilder, at his home in Stamford, Connecticut,” his nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said in a statement, according to ABC News. “It is almost unbearable for us to contemplate our life without him.
“The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s Disease with which he co-existed for the last three years. The choice to keep this private was his choice, in talking with us and making a decision as a family. We understand for all the emotional and physical challenges this situation presented we have been among the lucky ones – this illness-pirate, unlike in so many cases, never stole his ability to recognize those that were closest to him, nor took command of his central-gentle-life affirming core personality. It took enough, but not that.”
Mel Brooks tweeted shortly after the news went public: “Gene Wilder — one of the truly great talents of our time. He blessed every film we did with his magic and he blessed me with his friendship.”
Jordan Walker-Pearlman added that Wilder was diagnosed three years ago but kept it private to not disappoint fans.
“He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world,” Walker-Pearlman said.