[WATCH] Willy Wonka star Gene Wilder dies aged 83

Gene Wilder, famous for his role in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, The Producers, Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles, passed away due to Alzheimer’s disease on Sunday

30 August 2016, 8:57am

US actor Gene Wilder, remembered by many for his lead role in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, has died at the age of 83.

The actor died on Sunday in Stamford, Connecticut, due to complications from Alzheimer's disease, according to his family.

"It is almost unbearable for us to contemplate our life without him," his nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said in a statement, adding that Wilder was diagnosed with the disease three years ago but kept the condition private so as not to disappoint fans. “He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world,” Walker-Pearlman said.

Besides his role as Willy Wonka, the actor also had starring roles in classic films such as The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.

Wilder frequently collaborated with writer and director Mel Brooks as well as stand-up comedian Richard Pryor.

His performances have touched and inspired generations, and they have given the movies in question something of a classic status. Tributes have poured in for the comic genius, with artists like Stephen Fry and comedians like Little Britain's David Walliams tweeting about some of their favourite moments featuring the star. Actor Sean Hayes also paid tribute to Wilder, posting an image of himself with the star during what would be WIlder's last on-screen appearance in comedy series Will & Grace between 2002 and 2003.