The actor who played Superman died today at age 52. From the BBC:

Superman star Christopher Reeve, who lobbied for medical research after being paralysed in a fall nine years ago, has died aged 52. He had been suffering from an infection as a result of a pressure wound and died on Sunday, his publicist said. He suffered a cardiac arrest at his New York home and slipped into a coma, Mr Wesley Combs added.

Reeve was paralysed in 1995 when he broke his neck after being thrown from a horse. He later became an advocate for spinal cord injury research. In recent years, he had regained sensation in some parts of his body….Film director Michael Winner called Reeve the “archetypal movie star”. “I think he grew to personify a heroic struggle against disability,” said Winner. “We all kind of believed that we would one day see him walk again and instead we see him die really very young.” He added: “He was a kind of action actor and to see an action actor who played Superman paralysed and hardly able to speak was terrible, but we all had hope for him and it is tragic that those hopes have been dashed.”

Reeve broke his neck in May 1995 when he was thrown from his horse during an equestrian competition in Culpeper, Virginia. He then became a tireless campaigner for stem cell research, forcing it on to the political agenda. Before the actor’s death, Senator John Kerry mentioned Reeve in a presidential debate, calling him a friend and pledging support to stem cell research. [BBC, “Actor Christopher Reeve dies” October 11, 2004]

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