Aug 29, 2016 04:01 PM EST
Legend Gene Wilder Dies at the Age of 83
Gene Wilder, legendary comedy genius, died today at the age of 83. He was suffering and died from complications of Alzheimer's disease.
His nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman, released a statement, saying:
"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."
Wilder was nominated for and Oscar twice, for his role in "The Producers" and for co-writing "Young Frankenstein" with Mel Brooks. However, he will always be known best as Willy Wonka from 1971s "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". Of course, his roles in "Blazing Saddles" and "Young Frankenstein" were also legendary.
Wilder is survived by his fourth wife Karen Boyer, whom he has been to since 1991, and his nephew. He was predeceased by his sister Corinne, who passed in January 2016.
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