Verne Troyer, the actor best known for playing Mini Me in the “Austin Powers” movies, has died at 49, his representative confirmed Saturday.
“It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today,” the statement read.
The statement described Troyer as an “extremely caring individual” who wanted to make everybody “smile, be happy and laugh.”
The cause of death is still unknown, but the statement notes that it followed a life of turmoil
“Verne was also a fighter when it came to his own battles,” the statement read. “Over the years he’s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much.”
In a statement to hollywoodreporter.com, actor Mike Myers paid tribute to his former “Austin Powers” co-star: “Verne was the consummate professional and a beacon of positivity for those of us who had the honor of working with him. It is a sad day, but I hope he is in a better place. He will be greatly missed.”
The news come weeks after Troyer was hospitalized after an undisclosed medical emergency. TMZ and The Blast both reported that it was alcohol-related.
Troyer has been frank about his struggles with alcohol addiction, which were documented by VH1’s “The Surreal Life” in 2005. His current hospitalization came almost exactly a year after he told fans he was about to voluntarily check into a rehab clinic.
His representative’s statement continued, “During this recent time of adversity he was baptized while surrounded by his family. The family appreciates that they have this time to grieve privately.”
Troyer became a celebrity and pop-culture phenomenon after starring alongside Mike Myers as “Mini-Me,” the clone and sidekick of villain Dr. Evil, in two of the three “Austin Powers” films. He appeared in 1999’s “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” and 2002’s “Austin Powers in Goldmember.”
He also had roles in 2001’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and another Mike Myers film, 2008’s “The Love Guru.”
The announcement of his death concluded with a heartfelt plea: “Depression and Suicide are very serious issues. You never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside. Be kind to one another. And always know, it’s never too late to reach out to someone for help.”
The family also asks that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Verne’s name to either of his two favorite charities; The Starkey Hearing Foundation and Best Buddies.
Contributing: Associated Press