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Gene Wilder dies: director Mel Brooks leads tributes to the Willy Wonka star

Ellie Walker-Arnott

The American actor Gene Wilder passed away this weekend at the age of 83. The comedy star, known for roles in classic movies like 'Blazing Saddles', 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory', 'The Producers' and 'Young Frankenstein', died on Sunday due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

His family confirmed the sad news, adding that the decision to keep his illness a secret was because Wilder 'simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world'.

Mel Brooks, who directed a number of Wilder’s movies, led tributes to the beloved star, sharing his sadness on social media.

'He blessed every film we did with his magic and he blessed me with his friendship,' the 90-year-old wrote.

More colleagues, friends and fans – from Jim Carrey and Ben Stiller to Ricky Gervais and Stephen Fry – were also quick to take to Twitter this morning, to pay tribute to the star.

Here's our guide to the 100 best comedy movies of all time 


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