We are so sad to report that actor Gene Wilder has passed away at the age of 83. The actor, who you'll know best from the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory film, died from complications from Alzheimer's disease, according to his family.
Mr. Wilder's nephew released a statement about the actor's illness, and shared that he would not allow his illness to rip any joy away from his loved ones, or those of us who valued his work and considered him a true part of their childhood.
“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 family statement said. "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."
"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,” Gene's family shared.
We are so sad over this news, but so thankful the star was a part of so many special childhood memories.
Feel free to share your memories and condolences in the comments section below.