Gene Wilder’s family releases touching tribute to the late actor

Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate FactoryGene Wilder‘s family has released a lengthy statement following his death at age 83 yesterday.

Jordan Walker-Pearlman, nephew of the legendary performer, penned the statement in a farewell to his beloved uncle.

“It is with indescribable sadness and blues, but with spiritual gratitude for the life live that I announced the passing of husband, parents, and universal artist Gene Wilder, at his home in Stamford Connecticut. It is almost unbearable for us to contemplate our life without him,” the statement began.

Jordan then confirmed that Gene died after a years-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, and explained why the diagnosis was hidden from the public.

“The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease, with which he co-existed for the last three years,” he revealed. “The choice to keep this private was his choice, in talking with us and making a decision as a 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. It took enough, but not that.”

“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 added.

Jordan concluded the moving statement by saying, “He was eighty-three and passed holding our hands with the same tenderness and love he exhibited as long as I can remember. As our hands clutched and he performed one last breath the music speaker, which was set to random, began to bare out one of his favorites: Ella Fitzgerald. There is a picture of he and Ella meeting at a London bistro some years ago that are among each our cherished possessions. She was singing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow,’ as he was taken away.” ~Shelby Morton

“Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker!” — Where is this line from? Tell us your favorite Gene Wilder quote below!

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Lana Humble • August 30, 2016 @ 11:54 AM

    A great and sad loss to us all. Much sympathy to the family who so obviously loved him.

  2. Alice Mathis • August 30, 2016 @ 2:58 PM

    So sad to see such an end to this great man’s life. He will always be remembered especially because of his great performance as Willie Wonka. He will always be on our hearts! Love and prayers for the family.

  3. tristan • August 30, 2016 @ 5:17 PM

    What’s your name? My name is Jim…..but most people call me…..Jim! (Blazing Saddles)

  4. Snepts • August 31, 2016 @ 6:22 AM

    So many great lines, it’s impossible to pick just one…

    “Hey man, get some jive goin’! Shake it, but don’t break it!” (as George Caldwell in SILVER STREAK)

    “Do they know I hate confinement?” (as Skip Donahue in STIR CRAZY)

    Hotel Clerk: You’ll be happy to know we saved you a room with two queens.
    David Lyons: Well get ‘dem fellas outta ‘dere, we wanna get some sleep!” (from SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL)

  5. Jude • September 1, 2016 @ 4:43 PM

    Amazing actor and sounds like a wonderful man to be around – many condolences to his family

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