As sad as it is to say, Gene Wilder died August 29th at the age of 83 years old due to issues from Alzheimer's. The late actor was known for his many famous roles in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and many other famous films. His acting career was a long one, as well as one that left lasting memories for his many fans. People from ages 5 to 90 could appreciate his work in the variety of films he starred in.
His nephew gave a statement on it earlier today "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."
What many didn't know was that Wilder was very active in trying to promote cancer awareness as well as treatment, after his late wife Gilda Radner died in 1989. He helped found the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center located in Los Angeles as well as co-founded Gilda's Club. This was a support group to raise cancer awareness, which originated in NYC and is now all over the country.
Unfortunately, 2016 has been the year of deaths for many iconic members of society. Wilder is a great loss to society, and to his long list of fans.