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Monday, October 11, 2004

BBC > Actor Christopher Reeve dies

Reeve had become an advocate for spinal cord injury research Actor Christopher Reeve, star of the Superman films of the 1970s and 80s, has died.
The 52-year-old had been suffering from an infection as a result of a pressure wound and died on Sunday, his publicist Wesley Combs said.
He suffered a cardiac arrest at his New York home and slipped into a coma, Mr Combs added.
Reeve was paralysed nine years ago when he broke his neck after being thrown from a horse.
He later became an advocate for spinal cord injury research. In recent years, he had regained sensation in some parts of his body.
He had also returned to acting, appearing in a 1998 production of Rear Window, a modern version of the Alfred Hitchcock thriller about a man in a wheelchair who becomes convinced that a neighbour has been murdered.

The one true superman has been taken from us but your red cape will fly again
Steve Harley
Reeve's wife Dana said in a statement: "On behalf of my entire family, I want to thank Northern Westchester Hospital for the excellent care they provided to my husband.
"I also want to thank his personal staff of nurses and aides, as well as the millions of fans from around the world who have supported and loved my husband over the years."
Reeve was a virtual unknown before he shot to superstardom in the 1978 blockbuster Superman.

Obituary: Christopher Reeve
Life and career in pictures Thanks to meticulous preparation and close physical resemblance to the comic-strip hero, producers gave him the part.
The film and its three sequels turned Reeve into a worldwide star and grossed $300m.
Actress Susannah York, who played Superman's mother, told BBC Radio Five Live Reeve had "enormous goodness of soul and courage".
"I felt terribly proud to play his mother. When I was doing the film I thought 'Wow, this guy is terrific'.
"He was a very real contender for a Superman hero figure, because of his courage and generosity of spirit. He was fun.
"I think he was great... what he set out to do since his accident... I admired him incredibly."
'Heroic struggle'
Film director Michael Winner called Reeve the "archetypal movie star".
"I think he grew to personify a heroic struggle against disability," said Winner.
"We all kind of believed that we would one day see him walk again and instead we see him die really very young."

It takes extraordinary individuals like Reeve to recognise that investment and effort is worthwhile in the long run to work for others
Professor Colin Blakemore He added: "He was a kind of action actor and to see an action actor who played Superman paralysed and hardly able to speak was terrible, but we all had hope for him and it is tragic that those hopes have been dashed."
Reeve broke his neck in May 1995 when he was thrown from his horse during an equestrian competition in Culpeper, Virginia.
He then became a tireless campaigner for stem cell research, forcing it on to the political agenda.
Senator John Kerry mentioned Reeve in the latest presidential debate, calling him a friend whom he hoped would walk again thanks to stem cell research.
Professor Colin Blakemore, chief executive of the Medical Research Council, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme said it took commitment like Reeve's to carry research forward.
"It takes extraordinary individuals like Reeve to recognise that investment and effort is worthwhile in the long run to work for others.
"He always said that he was working for himself and was convinced that there would be a cure, but I think probably deep in his mind he knew his efforts would be far more likely to pay off for others than for him."



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