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Walter Koenig, the actor who brought the character of Pavel Chekov to life in the original Star Trek TV series and subsequent films, only met Anton Yelchin once, but it was memorable.
“We spoke on a sound stage for about two hours,” Koenig said Monday in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “His reputation as an artist preceded him, however. I knew I was in the presence of a gifted performer.”
Yelchin was killed early Sunday morning when his Jeep rolled down his driveway, pinning him between the vehicle, a security fence and brick pillar. He was 27.
Yelchin took over the role of Chekov for J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot and two sequels. The third installment of the reimagined franchise, Star Trek Beyond, is due out July 22.
Koenig says the two men were not close friends, but the young actor made in indelible impression.
“What I learned that day was how bright and sensitive he was. I walked away thinking — this is a good person,” Koenig said. “My heart goes out to his mother and father. I know what you’re going through.”
Yelchin’s death remains under investigation by Los Angeles authorities.
The actor’s Jeep was part of a voluntary recall issued in April by Fiat Chrysler. The recall was issued to “reduce the effect of potential driver error by enhancing warnings and transmission shift strategy,” according to the notice.
In a statement, the company said: “FCA US extends its most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Yelchin. The Company is in contact with the authorities and is conducting a thorough investigation. It is premature to speculate on the cause of this tragedy.”
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