Another icon was taken from us in 2016.
Gene Wilder, the famous actor and writer known for his work in films such as “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” “Young Frankenstein,” and “The Producers,” died Monday in his home at the age of 83, his family said in a statement.
Wilder, an avid tennis fan who enjoyed spending time with his wife, Karen Boyer, had suffered from Alzheimer’s in recent years and died of complications from the disease.
He’s seen in the photo above taking in the US Open in 2013 with his wife.
His nephew released a statement on behalf of the family:
“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.
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.”
He is survived by his wife, whom he married in 1991, and his nephew. His sister, Corinne, predeceased him in January 2016.
Thumbnail photo, inset photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images