Legendary actor Gene Wilder has died aged 83 at his home in Stamford, Connecticut after complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
The Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory star’s nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman, released statement announcing the sad news and adding that he hadn’t disclosed his diagnosis to avoid upsetting his fans.
“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,” the statement read.
“He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.”
Tributes have been pouring in from across the globe, with many stars taking to social media to mourn the loss of a friend and icon.