Actor Gene Wilder passed away today at the age of 83.
In a report filed by Variety, Wilder’s nephew His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said he died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
The 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.
Wilder is known as being part of four of the most iconic comedies of all-time: The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Wilder, and iconic stand-up Richard Pryor starred in a series of films together, including Wilder’s final big screen film, Another You.
Wilder was last seen acting on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace.
Wilder leaves behind a wife, Karen whom he married in 1991. He was also married to original Saturday Night Live cast member Gilda Radner.