We are so incredibly sad over this news. Gene Wilder’s family confirmed that the beloved actor has died at the age of 83 from complications with Alzheimer’s.
“Gene Wilder, star of ‘Willy Wonka’ and Mel Brooks comedies, is dead at 83, his family says,” the Associated Press confirmed on Twitter. His nephew revealed on Aug. 29 that the actor passed away one day earlier after facing complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
“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,” Gene’s nephew said in a statement. “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 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. He continued to enjoy art, music, and kissing with his leading lady of the last twenty-five years, Karen. He danced down a church aisle at a wedding as parent of the groom and ring bearer, held countless afternoon movie western marathons and delighted in the the company of beloved ones.”
In the months leading up to his death, Gene was spotted out on more than one occasion looking very frail, causing worry amongst his fans and supporters. The late star battled cancer in 1989, and was in remission by 2005, but many were worried the disease had returned because of his shocking appearance in 2015.
Gene left the movie industry in 2003 to focus on writing and has published multiple books. Gene was married twice before he met Gilda Radner in 1981. They married three years later, but she was, sadly, also diagnosed with cancer and died in 1989. Two years later, Gene married Karen, who he was with until the time of his death.
HollywoodLifers, are you shocked to learn about Gene’s death? Leave your condolences for his family and loved ones in the comments section below.