Michael Clarke Duncan – the Oscar-nominated star of The Green Mile – has passed away following a heart attack on July 13.
The 54-year-old actor’s death was announced by his publicist Joy Fehily who released a statement from Duncan’s fiancée, the Rev. Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, after he spent nearly two months in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles receiving treatment.
The statement revealed Duncan, "suffered a myocardial infarction on July 13 and never fully recovered", before stating, "Manigault is grateful for all of your prayers and asks for privacy at this time. Celebrations of his life, both private and public, will be announced at a later date."
The 6ft 4in (1.93m) former-bodyguard only started acting in his 30s, but went on to appear in a number of films, including popular hits Armageddon, Planet of the Apes and Kung Fu Panda, as well as a guest role in Charlie Sheen’s popular TV series Two and a Half Men.
But it was his starring role in 1999’s The Green Mile as wrongly-convicted murderer John Coffey that he will be best remembered for. His tear-jerking performance as a resident on death row alongside prison guard Tom Hanks caught the attention of both critics and fans alike, earning him his nomination from the Academy.
Hanks has since paid tribute to his former co-star: “I am terribly saddened at the loss of Big Mike. He was the treasure we all discovered on the set of The Green Mile. He was magic. He was a big love of man and his passing leaves us stunned.”
The Green Mile’s director, Frank Darabont, added, “[He was] one of the finest people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with or know. Michael was the gentlest of souls – an exemplar of decency, integrity and kindness. The sadness I feel is inexpressible.”
The Chicago-born actor’s most recent appearance had been a guest-role in several episodes of Fox crime drama The Finder earlier this year.
His death has been met by a wave of Twitter tributes from stars of acting, music and sport. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson tweeted, “’When something happens, we always say it happens for a reason’ ~ Michael Clarke Duncan 12/10/57 – 9/3/12 I’ll miss you my brother..” and MC Hammer added, “One of the best among Men on earth. A gentle Giant. Loved him. Pure class and grace. RIP my friend. #MichaelClarkeDuncan."