Verne Troyer, the actor best known for playing Mini-Me in two of the Austin Powers films, died at the age of 49. Troyer was a prolific actor who had worked on 58 movies and television shows, but, as his family stated in Saturday’s announcement, he faced adversity.
Troyer’s death was announced on his Facebook page, stating that he passed away on Friday. Earlier in April, he had been rushed to the hospital after friends contacted paramedics saying he was “drunk, extremely upset, and suicidal.” While the cause of death is still unknown, Troyer’s loved ones stated in the Facebook announcement that he had fought and won many battles, but “unfortunately this time was too much.”
“Depression and suicide are very serious issues,” the announcement says. “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.”
Troyer had cartilage-hair hypoplasia, a rare disorder that affects bone growth and the immune system. It’s what caused his short stature and skeletal abnormalities, but the disorder can also lead to recurrent infections. It’s linked to an increased risk of developing cancer and can require frequent medical care.
However, Troyer, who stood at 2 feet, 8 inches tall, said that he used his height to break into entertainment. He got his start in the industry as the stunt double for a 9-month-old baby in the 1994 film Baby’s Day Out. While he struggled to find serious roles due to biases against his dwarfism, he made it a point to avoid parts that he felt would dismiss or discredit his abilities as an actor. “I stay away from the elf roles; I stay away from playing a leprechaun,” Troyer said in 2012 to the Sydney Morning Herald. “All the roles I try to do are something that an average actor would do.”
Through facing much adversity, Troyer succeeded in challenging how Hollywood looks at actors with short stature. “I can play the leading man,” Troyer said. “I can play the action hero, maybe in just a different way. I look at it as, you know, if you set your mind to it, you can do it.”