R.I.P. Gene Wilder, 1933-2016

A comic genius of pure imagination.

Beloved comic film and television actor Gene Wilder passed away on Monday at his home in Stamford, Conn., due to complications from Alzheimer's disease, Variety reports. He was 83 years old.

Wilder delighted audiences in classic comedies such as Blazing Saddles, Stir Crazy, and the eponymous role in 1971's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Variety further reported what his nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman 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."

Wilder is survived by his fourth wife of 25 years, Karen Boyer, and his nephew.

He will be remembered and missed.

Cover photo: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com