'Mini-Me' actor Verne Troyer dead at 49
LOS ANGELES, USA – Verne Troyer, best known for his role as Mini-Me in the Austin Powers movies, died Saturday, April 21. He was 49.
While no cause of death was revealed, a post on Troyer's official social media accounts spoke of the diminutive actor's "recent time of adversity" with depression, noting he had recently been baptized.
"Over the years he's struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much," it added.
"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."
Troyer was taken to hospital early this month for unknown treatment. The actor spoke about his problems with alcohol during another hospital stay a year ago.
He was born in 1969 in Sturgis, Michigan.
One of the world's shortest men at just two feet eight inches (81 centimeters) due to achondroplasia dwarfism, Troyer first entered show business as a stunt person in Baby's Day Out (1994).
"In 1993, I was working for Sprint in customer service, and a friend of mine who was the president of LPA – Little People of America – got a phone call from the producers of Baby's Day Out, and they were wondering if there was anyone close to a stand-in size," he recalled in a 2012 interview with Hollywood Chicago.
"I guess they searched worldwide and couldn't find anyone. I sent in my picture, and they flew me out to Hollywood to meet with them. Two days later, they offered me the job, and I quit my job at Sprint."
Tributes poured in for the small man with an outsized personality.
"Verne was the consummate professional and a beacon of positivity for those of us who had the honor of working with him," Mike Myers, his Austin Powers co-star said in a statement. "It is a sad day, but I hope he is in a better place. He will be greatly missed."
Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin said she was "so sad" over the news of Troyer's death.
"A lovely smile with a caring and big heart, he helped raise money on behalf of @starkeycares for free hearing aids for deaf and hard of hearing people. RIP," added Matlin, who is deaf.
In addition to his breakout role as the Mini-Me – a diminutive, hairless clone of villain Dr Evil – in the first Austin Powers movie Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Troyer was also known for playing Griphook in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
"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," the post on Troyer's official social media accounts read.
"He inspired people around the world with his drive, determination and attitude."
While no place of death was given, Troyer lived in Los Angeles. –Rappler.com