'Austin Powers' Actor Verne Troyer Dies at 49

Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Verne Troyer

"It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today," a statement on the actor's official Facebook page reads.

Verne Troyer, an actor best known for playing Mini-Me in the Austin Powers series, has died, according to a statement Saturday on the actor's official Facebook page. He was 49.

"It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today," the statement 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."

The statement noted that Troyer had suffered from depression in the past. "Verne was also a fighter when it came to his own battles. Over the years he's struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much," the statement says. "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."

No cause of death was immediately given. The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Troyer's representatives.

In a statement given to THR, his Austin Powers co-star Mike Myers said, "Verne was the consummate professional and a beacon of positivity for those of us who had the honor of working with him. It is a sad day, but I hope he is in a better place. He will be greatly missed."

Jay Roach, Myers and Troyer's director in Austin Powers in Goldmember and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, also honored the late star in a statement given to THR: "Verne was an amazing guy, a joyful collaborator, and a true master of comedic acting, a director's dream. We found ourselves cutting to his silent performances constantly to levitate the scenes. An excellent dancer too! He elevated the character that Mike Meyers and Michael McCullers wrote and helped turn Mini-Me into an unforgettable, iconic character, known and referenced around the world. I feel lucky I got to know him and work with him. So sad for him and his family, but also celebrating the joy Verne brought us all."

Troyer grew up in an Amish community in Michigan and rose to fame as a result of his role in the Austin Powers series. Following his Austin Powers debut in 1999's The Spy Who Shagged Me, he played Griphook in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Coach Punch Cherkov in The Love Guru. Troyer also had guest spots on TV's Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Scrubs, Two and a Half Men and Boston Public. He also memorably appeared as Mini-Me in the music video for Ludacris' "Number One Spot" from the 2004 album The Red Light District.

In a 2016 story for THR, Troyer spoke about the difficulties of being an actor who was short in stature; at 2 feet 8 inches tall, he held the record for being the shortest actor.

"I was once offered a superhero role — it's almost too stupid to talk about — where when I came out to save lives, it was from under Abraham Lincoln's hat. It was like, 'I don't care how desperate I am. I'm not doing that,'" he said.

Of his role playing a killer gnome in the 2015 horror movie Gnome Alone, Troyer added, "I hadn't seen a lot of parts come my way, so I decided just to do it."

The actor battled alcohol addiction, having nearly died in 2002 from alcohol poisoning following a breakup. Footage of drunken antics from reality show The Surreal Life went viral. "That was a bad period in my life," Troyer told THR in 2016 of his years spent drinking. "I've learned from it, and I move on."

The actor had suffered some recent health setbacks. In 2015, he suffered a seizure but he bounced back, telling fans that he was fine; his manager said he had gone to a hospital as a precautionary measure. In 2017, Troyer announced that he was receiving treatment for alcohol addiction on his Facebook page. "I've been receiving treatment for the last week and I am voluntarily checking into a treatment center later this week to continue to get the help that I need," he wrote. 

On Saturday, several stars penned tributes to the actor upon hearing the news of his death. Music video collaborator Ludacris wrote on Instagram, "R.I.P. Verne Troyer aka Mini Me. You made it to that #1 Spot Glad we got to make history together. #goontosoon #love."

Actress Marlee Matlin tweeted, "So sad to read of the passing of Verne Troyer. 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."

Musician Slash wrote on Instagram, "RIP #VernTroyer you will be missed." Steve Aoki also shared an emotional post on his Twitter, writing, "Fucking devastated. My brother @vernetroyer I miss u and wish I could been there. I fucking miss u man. Fuck fuck I miss u."

The statement announcing Troyer's death asked that readers make a donation to Troyer's favorite charities, The Starkey Hearing Foundation and Best Buddies, in lieu of sending flowers.

Ryan Parker contributed to this report.

April 21, 7:42 p.m. Updated with Roach's statement.

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