Gene Wilder, the original Charlie and The Chocolate Factory star has sadly passed away at age 83.
The man behind the ICONC (soz, Johnny) Willy Wonka character is said to have died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
In an emotional statement for Variety, Gene's nephew revealed that the beloved actor chose to keep his illness private so he would not dissapoint fans.
"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.
A bunch of actors have since posted tributes honour the great actor: