Film legend Christopher Reeve, star of the Superman films of the 1970s and 80s, has died.
The 52-year-old actor had been suffering from an infection as a result of a pressure wound and died last Sunday, his publicist Wesley Combs said. He suffered a cardiac arrest at his New York home and slipped into a coma.
Reeve had broken through to superstardom after appearing in several of the Superman films. He had also starred in many other popular films, including the romantic weepy Somewhere in Time with Jane Seymour in 1980, Deathtrap with Michael Caine in 1982 and The Bostonians in 1984. But tragedy struck in May 1995 when he broke his neck after being thrown from his horse during an equestrian event. He later became an advocate of spinal cord injury research. In recent years, he had regained sensation in some parts of his body and proved a source of encouragement and inspiration to other sufferers throughout the world.
He had also returned to acting, appearing in a 1998 production of Rear Window, a modern version of the Alfred Hitchcock thriller about a man in a wheelchair who becomes convinced that a neighbour has been murdered. The role won him a Screen Actors Guild award.
Reeve’s wife, Dana, gave the following statement after his death: “On behalf of my entire family, I want to thank Northern Westchester Hospital for the excellent care they provided to my husband. I also want to thank his personal staff of nurses and aides, as well as the millions of fans from around the world who have supported and loved my husband over the years.”
Born in 1952, Reeve made his Broadway debut in 1976 opposite Katherine Hepburn in A Matter of Gravity. But Reeve was a virtual unknown before he shot to superstardom in the 1978 blockbuster Superman. Thanks to meticulous preparation and his physical resemblance to the comic-strip hero, producers gave him the part.