Movie Legend GENE Wilder has died at the age of 83.
The family of the beloved actor confirmed the news in a statement, saying he died Monday at his home in Stamford, Connecticut.
His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said he died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
He was mainly remembered for playing Willy Wonka in the 1971 film and also for being in many Mel Brooks films.
Wilder, had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1999.
In an emotional statement to Variety, Mr Walker-Pearlman revealed that his uncle was diagnosed with the disease three years ago, but kept the condition private so as not to disappoint fans.
“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 recognise those that were closest to him, nor took command of his central-gentle-life affirming core personality,” the full statement reads.
“The decision to wait until this time to disclose his condition wasn’t vanity, but more so that the countless young children that would smile or call out to him ‘there’s Willy Wonka,’ would not have to be then exposed to an adult referencing illness or trouble and causing delight to travel to worry, disappointment or confusion. He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.
It was reported he passed listening to the radio and one of his favourite songs come on Over the rainbow and he drew his last breath. RIP to the movie legend.
Brooks paid tribute to the actor on Twitter:
Gene Wilder-One of the truly great talents of our time. He blessed every film we did with his magic & he blessed me with his friendship.
5:47 AM – 30 Aug 2016
photo everett collection