Northern Irish actor Ray Stevenson has died aged fifty-eight, after being hospitalised with a sudden illness.
Representatives for the star said that he died on Sunday, just 4 days before his fifty-ninth birthday. Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported that he was hospitalised on the island of Ischia, where he was filming for his latest movie Cassino.
Born in Lisburn in Northern Ireland in 1964, Stevenson moved to England when he was 8 years old. He attended Bristol Old Vic theatre school, before making his film debut in 1998’s The Theory of Flight alongside Helena Bonham Carter.
He married Ruth Gemmell, a fellow actor known for her work in Bridgerton, Eastenders and Casualty, back in 1997 after meeting on the set of Band of Gold. They divorced in 2005 after 8 years of marriage.
Stevenson was known for his work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He first played Frank Castle/The Punisher in 2008’s Punisher: War Zone, as well as Volstagg in the Thor movies.
He also stars a main antagonist in the upcoming Star Wars series Ahsoka, which is set to come out in August later on this year.
Stevenson’s other movies included The Three Musketeers, King Arthur, RRR, Kill The Irishman and The Book of Eli. He also starred as Titus Pollo in the TV series Rome.
Tributes have been pouring in from fans and those who worked with Stevenson in the past.
RRR director SS Rajamouli wrote: “Just can’t believe this news. Ray brought in so much energy and vibrancy with him to the sets. It was infectious. Working with him was pure joy. My prayers are with his family. May his soul rest in peace.”
Matthew Lewis, a former Harry Potter star who worked with Stevenson on Some Kind of Life, said: “This is so sad. Ray played my dad in the first thing I ever did on TV. Almost 30 years ago. A proper actor with a fascinating career and I couldn’t have dreamed of a better first experience in this ridiculous industry.”
Stevenson’s Rome co-star James Purefoy wrote: “So sad to hear the news that Ray Stevenson, our Pullo in Rome, has passed away. A brilliant, gutsy, larger-than-life actor who filled every part he played right up to the brim. My thoughts are with his family, his lovely wife Betta and their beautiful kids. What a loss.”
One fan recalled their favourite of the star’s roles: “Very sad to wake up to the news that Ray Stevenson has died. Been in loads of things, but – to me – he’ll always be affable brute Titus Pullo in Rome. He was brilliant in that.”