Verne Troyer, who rose to fame after playing Mini-Me in the blockbuster “Austin Powers” films, died on Saturday, the actor’s representatives confirmed to HuffPost.
Troyer was 49 years old.
“Verne was an extremely caring individual,” an official statement shared with HuffPost read. “He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh. Anybody in need, he would help to any extent possible.”
Troyer’s representatives did not disclose a cause of death but said that the actor “was a fighter when it came to his own battles.”
“Over the years he’s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much,” the statement read.
“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.”
Troyer was born with a form of dwarfism in Centreville, Michigan. He, his older brother and younger sister grew up in an Amish community, although his parents had left the religion when he was young.
“My parents taught me to be optimistic and independent,” Verne said in a 2015 interview with the Guardian.
“They made me feel that I could do anything I set my mind to, which has really helped me,” he added. “They didn’t make allowances for me because of my height.”
In a 2013 Ask Me Anything reddit forum, Troyer said his parents were his role models.
“They never treated me any different than my other average sized siblings,” he wrote. “I used to have to carry wood, feed the cows and pigs and farm animals.”
While Troyer became a pop culture icon for playing one of the most memorable villains of the late 1990s ― Mini-Me ― he has had roles in many other films, including, Percy in “Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” Coach Punch Cherkov in “The Love Guru” with Michael Myers, and Griphook in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”
Troyer got his first gig in the entertainment industry in 1993 as a baby’s stunt double for a film titled “Baby’s Day Out.” After that, he found success as a stuntman for several films, including the 1996 comedy “Jingle All The Way” with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In his reddit AMA, Troyer suggested that he did all of his own stunts in the “Austin Powers” series.
“Nobody else can do my stunts except for a doll,” Troyer wrote. “I’m only 2 foot 8 dude!”
“Verne was the consummate professional and a beacon of positivity for those of us who had the honor of working with him,” his “Austin Powers” co-star Mike Myers said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. “It is a sad day, but I hope he is in a better place. He will be greatly missed.”
In recent years, the actor had launched his own YouTube series where he shared his recipes, interviewed people, reviewed products and answered questions from fans.
Troyer was hospitalized in Los Angeles for an alleged poisoning two weeks before his death. At the time, celebrity news site The Blast confirmed with the Los Angeles Police Department that Troyer was placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold.
After the hospitalization, Troyer’s representatives said he was “getting the best care possible and is resting comfortably.”
The actor has been frank with his fans about his struggle with alcohol addiction. After being hospitalized in April 2017, Troyer told his fans on Instagram that the addiction isn’t an “easy fight,” but added, “I’m willing to continue my fight day by day.”
In the same post, Troyer said he was checking into a treatment center.
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.