He was “one of the finest people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with or know,” Darabont said in a statement. “Michael was the gentlest of souls — an exemplar of decency, integrity and kindness. The sadness I feel is inexpressible.”
The actor died Monday at age 54, nearly two months after being hospitalized July 13 for a myocardial infarction, from which his rep said he never fully recovered. Duncan’s fiance, Omarosa Manigault, was with him in the hospital shortly before his death.
The Green Mile marked Duncan’s breakout role, earning him both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. In the 1999 movie, which starred Tom Hanks, he played soft-spoken death-row inmate John Coffey, who possesses extraordinary healing powers.
“Our experience making The Green Mile together was immersive and incredible, a once-in-a-lifetime journey,” Darabont said. “What sticks most in my mind was his devotion to his craftand the strides he made as an artist during that time, which was beyond inspiring to those of us who took the journey with him. Never has an actor more richly deserved the recognition of an Academy Award nomination than Michael did for his performance as John Coffey.”
Duncan’s other credits include the movies Armageddon,Sin City, Daredevil, Redemption Road and Kung Fu Panda. He most recently co-starred with Geoff Stults in Fox’s The Finder, a spinoff of Bones.
“Michael has left us far, far too soon,” Darabont added. “We lost a great man and a great spirit today. My thoughts and condolences go out to his fiancée, Omarosa, and to his family.”