In a sad turn of events, Gene Wilder passed away on Monday at his home in Stamford, Conn. Wilder was known for his roles in Young Frankenstein, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Stir Crazy. The news was released by his nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman, who stated that he died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 83.
In a statement with Variety, his nephew stated that, “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. The decision o 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.
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 company of bellowed ones.”
Wilder was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1989.
We give the family this time to grieve as they deal with the loss of such an amazing man.
Photo Credit: Warner Bros Studios