Michael Nyqvist, who played publisher Mikael Blomkvist in the original Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo films, has died, EW has confirmed. He was 56.
His family and representatives announced Tuesday that the actor died following a year-long battle with lung cancer. Known as one of Sweden’s most well-respected and accomplished actors, Blomkvist also appeared in Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol and the Keanu Reeves thriller John Wick.
“Michael’s joy and passion were infectious to those who knew and loved him. His charm and charisma were undeniable, and his love for the arts was felt by all who had the pleasure of working with him,” his family wrote in a statement.
Nyqvist appeared as Blomvkist opposite Noomi Rapace in three Swedish films based on Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. Daniel Craig portrayed the same character in the American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
He was best known to American audiences for his villainous turns, as a nuclear scientist who wants to instigate war between the U.S. and Russia in Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, and as a Russian mob boss working to protect his son from Keanu Reeves’ hitman John Wick.
He also portrayed a cult leader who attempts to ensnare Emma Watson as she hunts for her missing boyfriend in 2015’s Colonia. He has also filmed roles in the submarine action film Hunter Killer, costarring Gerard Butler and Gary Oldman, and his final film will reportedly be Kursk, a Colin Firth-led historical drama set for 2018.
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Nyqvist was born Rolf Åke Mikael Nyqvist on Nov. 8, 1960 in Stockholm, Sweden. He studied drama at the Malmö Theatre Academy, but reportedly first gained an interest an acting taking classes as a high school exchange student in Omaha, Nebraska.
After graduating drama school, he worked steadily in the Swedish theatre until his big break came with 2000’s Together, a Swedish dramedy directed by Lukas Moodysson. In 2004, he starred in As It Is in Heaven, which was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
Nyqvist had a wide range as an actor, belonging to the Royal Dramatic Theater in Sweden and playing everything from villains to leading men in romantic comedies. He appeared in the 2016 Sundance selection Frank & Lola starring Michael Shannon and Imogen Poots. Though he was more prominent in film roles, Nyqvist starred on television opposite Dominic Monaghan in 100 Code, a Swedish-U.S. co-production, in which he portrayed a Swedish police officer assisted by Monaghan’s NYPD detective.
He is survived by his wife Catharina, and their children Ellen and Arthur.