Louis Zamperini's Death: Stars Mourn 'Unbroken' Inspiration

11:20 AM PST 07/03/2014 by Hilary Lewis
Universal Pictures
Louis Zamperini with Angelina Jolie

UPDATED: The author of the best-selling book about the World War II hero as well as Adam Schefter, Josh Elliott and former USC QB Matt Barkley and coach Pete Carroll were among those remembering the Olympic track star who died on Wednesday.

Hollywood woke up Thursday to the news that Unbroken inspiration Louis Zamperini had died after a bout with pneumonia.

The World War II hero, whose experience served as the subject of Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling 2010 book and the upcoming Angelina Jolie-directed film of the same name, is being mourned by media personalities, writers and other stars.

The longtime USC fan was also remembered by the school's former football coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Matt Barkley, who was friends with Zamperini.

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Unbroken producer Matt Baer also shared his memories of Zamperini, explaining how the World War II hero's words inspired him as he was trying to get the movie made. “When anyone asked Lou for insight into how he pulled off such a wildly long life, he’d always say 'having a positive attitude.' For 16 years that message propelled me every day when it came to our shared dream of getting a film made on Lou’s life," Baer said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. We knew that his story would inspire people everywhere and thankfully now that goal has been achieved. I was Lou’s biggest fan, and he was my champion, and I was honored to be a part of his life. Unbroken gave Lou an amazing final lap. I will miss him every day and am blessed to have called him my friend.”

Meanwhile, Discovery Channel is also paying tribute to Zamperini, re-airing Adrift: 47 Days With Sharks on Sunday at 4 p.m., about how Zamperini and another man survived the shark-infested waters into which their plane crashed.

"What happened to these men is one of the greatest tests of will, endurance and faith of our time, and it is our hope that this re-airing will serve as memorable tribute to an incredible man," Discovery said in a statement.

Take a look at who else is mourning Zamperini on social media.

 

Tatiana Siegel contributed to this report.

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