Swedish ‘Dragon Tattoo’ actor Michael Nyqvist dies at 56

Actor Michael Nyqvist, who starred in the film adaptation of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, has died aged 56, his family has announced

Michael Nyqvist
Michael Nyqvist

Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist died on Tuesday at the age of 56 after battling lung cancer, his family confirmed in a statement.

The Stockholm-born actor was best known for his role as journalist Mikael Blomkvist in the original Swedish Dragon Tattoo trilogy, which included The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

He later appeared in Hollywood action thrillers such as John Wick and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. 

Nyqvist’s representative released a statement on Tuesday that read: “It is with deep sadness that I can confirm that our beloved Michael, one of Sweden’s most respected and accomplished actors, has passed away quietly surrounded by family after a year long battle with lung cancer.”

Nyqvist, who spent the first year or so of his life in a Stockholm orphanage, discovered his love for acting as a high school senior in 1977 in Omaha, Neb., according to his website. An exchange student in an American high school at the time, he enrolled in his first acting class and landed a small role in the school’s production of the play “Death of a Salesman.”

Upon returning to Sweden, he enrolled in ballet school, but quit after a brief period to pursue theatre school.

Early on, he received supporting roles in several plays and movies in Sweden. Nyqvist landed his breakthrough role at age 39, playing Rolf, an abusive alcoholic husband in the 2000 film “Together.” The Swedish movie about members of a leftist commune in suburban Stockholm in the 1970s led to his first nomination for a Guldbagge, the annual cinema awards in Sweden. From there, Nyqvist was cast in leading roles on television shows and in films.

“Michael’s joy and passion were infectious to those who knew and loved him. His charm and charisma were undeniable, and his love for the arts was felt by all who had the pleasure of working with him,” the statement by Nyqvist’s representative continued.

Nyqvist is survived by his wife Catharina Ehrnrooth, a production designer, and his two children, Ellen and Arthur.