Verne Troyer, who famously starred as Mini-Me in the Austin Powers movies, died on Saturday. He was 49.
“It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today,” a message published on the actor’s Facebook page reads. “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. Verne hoped he made a positive change with the platform he had and worked towards spreading that message everyday.”
Troyer, who struggled with alcohol addiction, had been hospitalized in recent weeks. A statement posted to Instagram at the beginning of April noted he was “getting the best care possible” and “resting comfortably.”
The Facebook statement acknowledges “his own battles,” adding, “Over the years he’s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much.”
“During this recent time of adversity he was baptized while surrounded by his family,” it continues. “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.”
In lieu of flowers, the note asks for donations to be made in Verne’s name to “his two favorite charities,” The Starkey Hearing Foundation and Best Buddies.
Troyer had been open about his struggles in the past, some of which was documented on VH1’s The Surreal Life in 2005. He opened up further to his fans on social media in 2017 when he voluntarily entered into a rehab facility.
“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,” he wrote at the time.
“I want to thank everyone that’s reached out with their messages of support, it truly means the world to me,” he added. “With your support, I got this.”
Troyer was born with achondroplasia dwarfism, though he wrote in The Guardian that it “never really fazed [him] that much” growing up.
“My parents taught me to be optimistic and independent. They made me feel that I could do anything I set my mind to, which has really helped me,” he recalled. “They didn’t make allowances for me because of my height. I had to do everything my brother and sister had to do, including raising our animal menagerie that included cows and chickens.”
He is perhaps best known to the world for his role in Austin Powers, though his career spans a multitude of movies television appearances, including The Love Guru, Two and a Half Men, MADtv, Scrubs, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
“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 costar Mike Myers said of Troyer in a statement. “It is a sad day, but I hope he is in a better place. He will be greatly missed.”
Troyer also played an alien in 1997’s Men in Black and the goblin Griphook in 2001’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.