Gene Wilder’s Family Reveals Why The Comedic Icon Chose To Privately Suffer From Alzheimer’s Disease

gene wilder family statement

Get your tissue boxes ready!

As we previously reported, legendary actor Gene Wilder passed away on Monday due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 83-years-old.

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While many in Hollywood have since paid tribute to the comedic icon on Twitter, Wilder’s nephew/child Jordan Walker-Pearlman opened up about why the Young Frankenstein star privately suffered from the brain disorder for the last three years.

In a recent statement, Jordan explained:

“It is with indescribable sadness and blues, but with spiritual gratitude for the life lived that I announce the passing of husband, parent and universal artist Gene Wilder, at his home in Stamford, Connecticut. It is almost unbearable for us to contemplate our life without him. The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease with which he co-existed for the last three years. 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 ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ 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.”

Intense stuff. Gene’s relative continued:

“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.

We’re not crying you are! Despite his illness, Walker-Pearlman described the Blazing Saddles actor as one full of life until the very end. He added:

“He continued to enjoy art, music, and kissing with his leading lady of the last 25 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. He is survived by Karen, Jordan, and the Webbs (Kevin, Gretchen, Tucker, Spencer), along Jordan’s wife, Elizabeth. Gene’s sister Corinne, predeceased him in January of this year.”

Not to mention, Ella Fitzgerald‘s Somewhere Over the Rainbow began randomly playing at the time of Wilder’s death. What makes this moment particularly beautiful is that Miz Fitzgerald was Gene’s favorite artist.

Our thoughts are with Gene’s loved ones during this sad time.

[Image via WENN.]

Aug 30, 2016 9:59am PDT

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