Get ready to bawl your goddamn eyes out: Gene Wilder, the comedic genius and star of such amazing films as Blazing Saddles, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Young Frankenstein, The Producers, and Stir Crazy, has passed away at age 83 due to complications from Alzheimer's disease. From Variety:
His nephew said in a statement, “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.”
To say Gene will be missed in an understatement of the gravest sort. He brought so much joy and delight to the world, and we should all continue to reach for his beautifully high standards. Here's how I'll always remember him: