Austin Powers Star Verne Troyer Dies at 49
Verne Troyer, best known for playing Mini-Me in the Austin Powers franchise, has died. He was 49.
“It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today. Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh. Anybody in need, he would help to any extent possible,” his family confirmed in a statement shared on Instagram and Facebook Saturday.
No cause of death was revealed.
A rep for Troyer did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
“Verne hoped he made a positive change with the platform he had and worked towards spreading that message everyday. He inspired people around the world with his drive, determination, and attitude. On film & television sets, commercial shoots, at comic-con’s & personal appearances, to his own YouTube videos, he was there to show everyone what he was capable of doing,” the statement continued.
Adding, “Even though his stature was small and his parents often wondered if he’d be able to reach up and open doors on his own in his life, he went on to open more doors for himself and others than anyone could have imagined. He also touched more peoples hearts than he will ever know. Verne was also 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.”
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On April 2, Troyer, who was born with achondroplasia dwarfism which caused him to stop growing at 2’8″, was rushed to the hospital for a “reported poisoning.” The Los Angeles City Fire Department confirmed to PEOPLE that they were called to the actor’s North Hollywood home. Law enforcement sources told TMZ that Troyer was “extremely upset, drunk and suicidal.”
In Saturday’s statement, Troyer’s family wrote: “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. 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.”
This time last year, Troyer was hospitalized for alcohol addiction. The star addressed his ongoing struggles with alcohol at the time.
“I’ve been hearing from some concerned fans, so I’d like to address a very personal situation,” Troyer said in a statement to PEOPLE last April. “As you know, I’ve battled alcohol addiction in the past and while it’s not always been an easy fight, I’m willing to continue my fight day by day.”
Three years ago, Troyer was also briefly hospitalized after suffering a seizure during an autograph-signing.
Troyer’s big acting break came in 1999 with the role of Mini-Me in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, for which he portrayed a misbehaving version of Mike Myers’ character Dr. Evil. Troyer also reprised his role in the 2002 sequel, Austin Powers in Goldmember.
Other acting credits include roles in Men in Black, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He also starred in VH1’s The Surreal Life in 2005.
In lieu of flowers, the family asked for donations to be made to two charities, The Starkey Hearing Foundation and Best Buddies, in Troyer’s name.