"Genius" Gene Wilder's Touching Final Moments Revealed
Tributes have been pouring in following the sad news of "genius" Gene Wilder's passing, which broke earlier today.
And now the actor's nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman, has released a touching statement describing his beloved uncle's final moments, when the family held hands and listened to Somewhere Over The Rainbow.
"He was eighty-three and passed holding our hands with the same tenderness and love he exhibited as long as I can remember," the beautiful tribute reads.
"As our hands clutched and he performed one last breath the music speaker, which was set to random, began to blare out one of his favourites: Ella Fitzgerald.
"There is a picture of he and Ella meeting at a London Bistro some years ago that are among each our cherished possessions.
She was singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow as he was taken away."
Earlier in the note, Mr Walker-Pearlman had also revealed that the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory legend had deliberately kept his Alzheimer's diagnosis quiet because "he simply couldn't bear the idea of one less smile in the world."
"It is almost unbearable for us to contemplate our life without him," Mr Walker-Pearlman continues. "The cause was complications from Alzheimer's Disease with which he co-existed for the last three years.
"The decision to wait until this time to disclose his condition wasn't vanity, but more so that the countless young children that would smile or call out to him "there's Willy Wonka" would not have to be then exposed to an adult referencing illness or trouble and causing delight to travel to worry, disappointment or confusion.
"He continued to enjoy art, music and kissing with his leading lady of the last twenty-five years, Karen.
"He danced down a church aisle at a wedding as parent of the groom and ring bearer, held countless afternoon movie western marathons and delighted in the company of beloved ones."
Mr Walker-Pearlman, who signed the note as "Gene's kid", concluded with a poignant quote from the two-time Oscar nominee.
"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams."