Actor Verne Troyer has passed away. Best known for playing Mini Me in Mike Myers’ “Austin Powers” comedies, Troyer was 49.
Troyer was hospitalized on April 4, placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold after reports that he was “suicidal.” While hospitalized, he was reportedly treated for alcohol poisoning.
Troyer was born with a genetic disorder known as achondroplasia dwarfism, and his diminutive stature of two feet, eight inches made him one of the world’s shortest people.
Troyer shot to stardom thanks to his “Austin Powers” role as the tiny assistant to Dr. Evil (played by Myers), which led to numerous acting roles in film and television, including the 2005 season of celebrity reality show “The Surreal Life”. It was during that show’s broadcast that viewers witnessed Troyer’s excessive drinking during his time on the “Big Brother”-style show.
In recent years, Troyer’s struggles with alcohol made frequent headlines as he continued to battle the bottle with numerous stints in rehab.
The sad news was shared on Troyer’s Facebook account, with a touching message that addressed his demons.
“Verne was also a fighter when it came to his own battles,” reads the message. “Over the years he’s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much.”
Also noting that Troyer was baptized during his recent hospitalization, the message adds, “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.”
In a 2012 interview with the Chicagoland website, Troyer explained that he grew up on a farm in Michigan, where his family never treated him as though he had a disability.
“I grew up in a family that are average size, and I grew up with parents who didn’t treat me any different,” he divulged. “I never looked at my size as a handicap, I felt like I fit in at school — I was even elected Homecoming King. I don’t know what it’s like to be tall, so this is normal for me. It’s you guys who are abnormal. ”
Following the news of Troyer’s passing, “Austin Powers” co-star Mike Myers, Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin, famed makeup artist Tom Savino and rapper Ludacris were among those paying tribute on social media.
“Verne was the consummate professional and a beacon of positivity for those of us who had the honour of working with him,” said Myers in a statement to ET Canada. “It is a sad day, but I hope he is in a better place. He will be greatly missed.”