The great Swedish actor, Michael Nyqvist, has died at age 56.
The news of his death was reported by Swedish newspapers and confirmed in a statement by his family. He is best known to international audiences for his role as Mikael Blomkvist in the original Swedish The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movies.
Nyqvist was known to American audiences in the blockbuster films John Wick and Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol. However, he had a lengthy, acclaimed career in European cinema and theater.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Nyqvist Died of Cancer
The cause of death of the actor was revealed to be cancer, according to DN.kultur, which confirmed his death on June 27.
He had been ill for some time. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Nyqvist died of lung cancer.
“On behalf of Michael Nyqvist’s representatives and family, it is with deep sadness that I can confirm that our beloved Michael, one of Sweden’s most respected and accomplished actors, has passed away quietly surrounded by family after a year long battle with lung cancer,” a Nyqvist rep said in a statement.
Michael Nyqvist was born Rolf Åke Mikael Nyqvist in Stockholm, Sweden, and was adopted from an orphanage, according to IMDB, by a lawyer and writer. He eventually tracked down his birth parents, who were Swedish and Italian.
According to IMDB, his breakthrough in European cinema came when he played “Rolf, an alcoholic and abusive husband, in a film by Lucas Moodysson called Together.This role landed him his first Guldbagge nomination (Best Supporting Actor) and won him the Best Actor award at the Gijón International Film Festival.”
After that, he starred in a series of European films and plays, with awards following, before branching out into Hollywood blockbusters following his success in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movies.
Other notable European roles were the “lead role in the Swedish romantic comedy-drama, The Guy in the Grave Next Door, directed by Kjell Sundval. A year later, Nyqvist starred in the Swedish film As It Is in Heaven, which was nominated for an Academy Award in the best foreign film competition,” reported the Hollywood Reporter.
2. Nyqvist’s Family Confirmed That He Died in a Statement That Said He Leaves a ‘Big Gap’
“He will leave a big gap after him,” his family told TT.
“Today we have the sad news to announce that the actor and writer Michael Nyqvist has died on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 after a time of illness. Michael Nyqvist was 56 years old and will leave a big gap after him. The family is asking for peace in silence,” SVT reported.
In a statement, the family also said, “Michael’s joy and passion were infectious to those who knew and loved him. His charm and charisma were undeniable, and his love for the arts was felt by all who had the pleasure of working with him.”
Nyqvist had two children: Ellen, who was born in 1991, and Arthur, who was born in 1996. They are his children with his wife, Catharina Ehrnrooth.
3. The Actor Had a Near Death Experience While Filming the Movie John Wick & Was Known for His Role in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Michael Nyqvist described a near death experience during the John Wick filming in New York in 2014. His head was injured in an accident, requiring eight stitches. He claimed that he saw a “tunnel” after the accident.
He is probably best known to international audiences for his role in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movie and its sequels. “In 2008, it was announced that Nyqvist was chosen to star as Mikael Blomkvist of the literary phenomenon, the Millenium Trilogy written by Stieg Larsson,” reported IMDB.
Actor Daniel Craig assumed the role in the American adaptation of the Larsson trilogy.
4. Fans Lamented the Loss of the Great Actor on Social Media
Tributes spread on social media as the news was passed on about Nyqvist’s death, many of them in Swedish.
Wrote one Swedish fan on Twitter, “Actor Michael Nyqvist is dead, he was 56 years old. This declares the family to TT. So extremely badly affected by this. Rest in peace.”
An American fan echoed the thoughts of others: “Sad to hear about the passing of Europa Report and @JohnWickMovie actor Michael Nyqvist. He was truly amazing to watch ? #restinpeace.”
And another: “Awful sad. Rest in peace Michael Nyqvist. You will be missed. Our thoughts are with your loved ones.”
5. Nyqvist Became an Actor After Discovering the Craft While an Exchange Student to Nebraska
Nyqvist once considered other professions. He thought of being a rock star, a history teacher or a lawyer, as his father had been, according to DN.kultur.
The Swedish publication reported that Nyqvist’s acting career “started as a 17-year exchange student in Omaha, in the state of Nebraska.” A role in an Arthur Miller play gave him a “taste of theater life,” the publication says.