Google Honors Late 'Superman' Actor Christopher Reeve with Doodle Commemorating His Birthday

Google is celebrating the life of Superman actor and activist Christopher Reeve on what would have been his 69th birthday

Christopher Reeve Google Doodle
Photo: Google

Google is celebrating the life and legacy of late actor and activist Christopher Reeve, who is receiving his very own Google Doodle, which goes live Saturday.

The company is paying homage to Reeve with the Doodle to mark what would have been his 69th birthday. The Superman actor died of heart failure at age 52 in 2004, nine years after he suffered a horseback riding accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down.

In his Google Doodle, Reeve is depicted in his wheelchair wearing a red shirt reminiscent of his famous Superman costume. Behind him sits a city skyline and a bright blue sky with "Google" written faintly in the clouds above.

Christopher Reeve
Jim Smeal/WireImage

Reeve was thrown from a horse during an equestrian competition roadblock test in 1995, resulting in a spinal cord injury that made it impossible for him to regain movement again. According to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, "The injuries were so severe that even his mother begged the doctors to withdraw his mechanical ventilation, and he came to appreciate the possibility of ending his life."

But when Dana, Reeve's wife, told him, "You're still you. And I love you," it gave the actor the push he needed to "grab on to life."

Following his injury, Reeve was inspired to improve the quality of life for people living with paralysis like himself. In 1999, he formed the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, a nonprofit "dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by advancing innovative research and improving quality of life for individuals and families impacted by paralysis."

He later traveled around the world to meet scientists, public representatives, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists for the cause, according to his foundation. In his efforts, he "became the voice, and above all the beacon of hope, of all those who live with paralysis," said Peter Wilderotter, former president and CEO of the foundation.

Warner Brothers/Courtesy Everett Collection

Reeve, whose career included roles in multiple Superman movies, as well as, Somewhere in Time, The Remains of the Day and Deathtrap, was father to three children: son Matthew and daughter Alexandra, whom he welcomed with his former partner Gae Exton, and son Will, whom he shared with Dana, who died of lung cancer in 2006.

Will previously told PEOPLE that both his father and mother's legacies are everlasting.

"I think his legacy is never going to go away and think that is a responsibility that I feel, to carry his and my mother's legacy on for the rest of my life and hopefully beyond that," he said. "I think that the foundation is one way, one tangible way, that his legacy and my mom's legacy will always live on. And I think the way that I, and my siblings, live our lives is another way. And I think that his impact is felt by the millions of lives that he touched."

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