Comedy legend Gene Wilder dies at the age of 83 after a three year long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Hollywood pays tribute to him.
Before Johnny Depp did his part, there was only one man who was popularly known around the world as Wonka Chocolate Factory owner Willy Wonka, Gene Wilder.
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The man who was known for his lively personality, his charm and his wit and most of all, his love for others has left us at the age of 83. A frequent collaborator of Mel Brooks, he starred in a string of iconic comedies including Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.
His nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman confirmed his death and also gave the details about the way he died. Currently presiding in Stamford, Connecticut, the actor was surrounded by family members and holding hands with them.
According to Jordan, he went way before they expected and he was grateful that they had caught the flight to him at the last minute.
He said that his other cousin cooked all of the family a chicken dinner because that was Mr. Wilder’s favourite and they all sat around him holding hands when the radio started to belt out Ella Fitzgerald singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow as he took his last breath.
According to People magazine, Jordan said that till his dying breath, he enjoyed all the things that he had throughout his life, kissing his wife, joking, loving everyone.
In more details, it was revealed that Mr. Wilder was battling with Alzheimer’s disease for the past three years. He had wanted to keep this secret not out of vanity but to save the happiness of the children.
Jordan revealed that Gene thought that children took comfort in his Willy Wonka role and to know that he was battling with a disease would take their smiles away. He did not want any smile lessened from the world. He is remembered by the people that worked with him or looked up to him.
Mel Brooks remembered his old friend in a heart touching tweet that read, 'One of the truly great talents of our time. He blessed every film we did with his magic & he blessed me with his friendship.'
According to DailyMail, Jim Carrey also remembered him in his tweet, 'Gene Wilder was one of the funniest and sweetest energies ever to take human form. If there's a heaven, he has a golden ticket.'
Willy Wonka co-stars also paid tribute, with Rusty Goffe, who played one of the Oompa Loompas, saying: 'Gene Wilder was one of the nicest, if not THE nicest actor I have ever worked with. A true star. Thank you Mr Wonka.'
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Many more including his fans and friends paid their respects and tributes to the star. A man who lives in the hearts lives on forever indeed.