Beloved actor Stefan Karl Stefansson has died after a nearly two year battle with cancer.
A spokesperson for Stefansson’s family told TMZ that the actor died Tuesday while surrounded by friends and family. He was 43 years old. He is survived by his wife, Steinunn Þorsteinsdóttir, as well as their four children.
“Per Stefan’s wishes, there will be no funeral. His earthly remains will be scattered in secrecy in a distant ocean,” Þorsteinsdóttir said in a statement sent to PEOPLE. “Stefan’s family wants to express their gratitude for the support and warmth received in recent years, and to express their deepest sympathy to the many friends and fans of Stefan Karl.”
Celebrity Net Worth estimates Stefansson’s net worth to be $2 million. That’s thanks to his many TV, film, and movie roles including his most famous role as Robbie Rotten, the villain of the popular children’s TV show LazyTown. He also founded a leading anti-bullying organization as well as a company that grows micro greens for restaurants.
Here’s everything you need to know about Stefansson’s net worth:
1. He Played Robbie Rotten on LazyTown for 15 Years
Stefansson was best known for portraying Robbie Rotten in LazyTown, which ran on Nickelodeon and other networks from 2004 to 2014. He was a part of the show since 1999 when it started out as just a theatrical production. Robbie Rotten was the show’s eccentric antagonist who tried to revert the town of LazyTown to its old, lazy ways while attempting to thwart the efforts of hero Sportacus as he shaped up the town’s residents.
Stefansson was born on July 10, 1975 in Hafnarfjörður, Iceland, according to The Sun. He graduated from the Icelandic Academy of Arts in Reykjavik and worked as an actor with the National Theatre of Iceland.
He and Þorsteinsdóttir married on December 29, 2002 and had four children together while living in San Francisco. Þorsteinsdóttir is a US Citizen and Stefansson had a green card.
2. He Didn’t Just Portray Robbie Rotten
According to IMDB, Stefansson has performed in multiple different movies, TV shows, and theatrical shows.
At the National Theatre, he performed as Cosmo Brown in Singin’ in the Rain, Lloyd Douglas in Noises Off, and Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream. He also portrayed the Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors with The Reykjavik City Theatre. One of his biggest theatrical roles was playing the Grinch in Running Subway Productions’ production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas the Musical, which first premiered at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, California on November 14, 2009, and went on to tour in nine cities throughout the U.S. according to the Los Angeles Times.
He also played the singing sheep farmer in the popular Icelandic feature comedy Stella Runs for Office as well as contributed voice work for Night at the Museum and Thor.
He won the Thorbjorn Egner Honorary Award for his work at the National Theatre of Iceland in 2000.
3. People Raised Over $169,000 for Stefansson’s Cancer Treatment
Stefansson was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September 2017. The cancer then relapsed in May 2017 and he had two masses removed from his liver. In June 2017, he was diagnosed with stage four cholangiocarcinoma or bile-duct cancer.
“Although the chances and statistics are not in our favor, and Stefán’s candle burns quickly, we will not be scared of fear,” said Þorsteinsdóttir at the time.
A GoFundMe page was set up in October 2016 to help raise funds for Stefansson after he became too ill to work. The campaign raised $169,670 before it closed.
The funding was due in part to Stefansson’s performance of a musical segment in LazyTown becoming viral.
In September 2016, YouTuber SilvaGunner posted a video of a remixed version of the song “We Are Number One” from LazyTown’s 107th episode “Robbie’s Dream Team” as well as a follow up video. After that a wave of remixes of the song’s music video flooded YouTube, according to Know Your Meme. The meme further took off after Stefansson’s cancer diagnosis, with the videos promoting his GoFundMe campaign.
Stefansson subsequently embraced the meme. Stefansson acknowledged the meme in his Reddit AMA and then created an event for a live Facebook video of him performing the song with the original cast in December 2016. He also thanked the community for the creative videos they made with the song and said he loved every single one of them. He also thanked those who donated to his GoFundMe page. He also introduced the audience to Mani Svavarsson, the composer of the song, who explained how he created it. He also answered questions about the show from the audience.
The original livestream had over 50,000 people watching. The upload on YouTube has over 6,200,000 views at the time of writing.
4. He Started an Anti-Bullying Organization & a Company that Grows Microgreens
Stefansson was the founder and president of the Regnbogaborn (Rainbow-Children). According to his LinkedIn page, the nonprofit organization “has become the leading Icelandic anti-bullying organization for children, teens, educators and parents. Rainbow-Children focuses on prevention, education and personal outreach to stem the growing tide of bullying against children.”
5. Stefan Karl Took His Family on Trips to Mexico & Iceland, Says They Value Christmas a Different Way
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times about his role as the Grinch, he said that he and Þorsteinsdóttir taught their children to value Christmas in a different way. They put up a small tree in their house and their kids are happy to get gloves as a present.
“If you think about it, it’s a very relevant story,” Karl said regarding How the Grinch Stole Christmas. “It’s a great reminder for families to remember what Christmas is about. Why do we rush down to Black Friday? Is it for our family or just for the discount? What is it that we really need? We need Cindy Lou Who, who goes, ‘Why?’ We should listen to children and what they have to say. That’s what the Grinch has taught me about Christmas.”
- Stefan Karl Thanked Fans With Heartwarming Story
- Steinunn Þorsteinsdóttir, Stefan Karl’s Wife: 5 Fast Facts
- Stefan Karl Stefansson Dead: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know