via 20th Century Fox.

RIP: Gene Wilder Passes Away at 83

Gene Wilder, who starred in such comedic gems as “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Stir Crazy,” died late Sunday night at his home in Stamford, Conn. His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman confirmed his passing was due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 83.

His nephew said in a statement,


“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 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.

via Warner Bros.
via Warner Bros.

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.”

Wilder had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1989.

Reaction from Mel Brooks:


 


 

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