Leonard Nimoy dead: Star Trek Spock actor dies after suffering lung disease

The actor, 83, is famous for playing the role of Mr Spock

Star Trek legend Leonard Nimoy has died, aged 83.

The actor, famous for playing the role of logical science officer Mr Spock in the long-running sci-fi series, passed away at his Bel Air home on Friday.

His wife Susan confirmed the news.

Nimoy was taken to UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Thursday 19 February.

He has entered hospital a number of times over the last few months.

In a tweet from Nimoy's account, his grandson Dani paid tribute to the well-loved actor, which signed off using Spock's phrase "Live Long and Prosper".

"He was an extraordinary man, husband, grandfather, brother, actor, author-the list goes on- and friend. Thank you for the warm condolences."

Dani added that the family will be selling special commemorative shirts online, with proceeds going to the COPD Foundation.

Last year, he revealed he was suffering from chronic lung disease, despite stopping smoking more than 30 years ago.

I quit smoking 30 yrs ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Grandpa says, quit now!! LLAP

Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) January 30, 2014

Symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease include coughing, chest infections and breathlessness.

 

Nimoy was recently pictured looking frail and using an oxygen cylinder as he was wheeled through JFK airport.

Though he stopped attending Star Trek conventions in 2011, he made a cameo as Spock in the 2013 film Star Trek Into Darkness, and a number of guest appearances in the science fiction series Fringe, which ran until 2012.

Nimoy has played the famous Vulcan character since 1966 and was the only actor from the original series to return for JJ Abrams’ recent film versions.

Born in Boston to Jewish immigrants from Russia, Nimoy was raised in the city's Italian quarter, where he said he felt the sting of anti-Semitism growing up.

At age 17 he was cast in a local production of Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing as the son in a Jewish family, and went on to win a drama scholarship at Boston College.

However he later decided to drop out and moved to California and where he took acting lessons at the Pasadena Playhouse. The budding actor quickly lost his Boston accent, enlisted the help of an agent and began playing small roles in TV series and movies.

In 1954 he married Sandra Zober, a fellow student at the Pasadena Playhouse, and they had two children, Julie and Adam. The couple divorced, and in 1988 he married Susan Bay, a film production executive.

After service in the Army, he returned to Hollywood, where he worked as a taxi driver, vacuum cleaner salesman, movie theater usher and other jobs while looking for acting roles.

The actor found his big break as Spock in TV series Star Trek, which ran from 1966 to 1969. After the cult series ended in 1969, he immediately joined the adventure show Mission Impossible as the master of disguise, Paris.

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Starring as Mr Spock in the original TV series of 'Star Trek'. (Getty Images)

From 1976 to 1982 he hosted the syndicated TV series In Search of... which attempted to probe such mysteries as the legend of the Loch Ness Monster and the disappearance of aviator Amelia Earhart.

Other roles included Israeli leader Golda Meir's husband opposite Ingrid Bergman in the TV drama A Woman Called Golda .

Nimoy also turned his talents to director, including the hit comedy Three Men and a Baby, as well as treading the boards in plays such as A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tim Roof, Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, My Fair Lady, Equus and Vincent van Gogh in one-man stage show Vincent.

More recently, he played the moneyed genius William Bell in the Fox series Fringe.

As a writer he penned poems, children's stories, and also enjoyed photography.

But while the actor enjoyed a rich career, fan’s would always remember his first as Spock.

Trekkies often greet one another with the Vulcan salute and the Vulcan motto, “Live Long and Prosper” - both of which Nimoy was credited with bringing to the character.

He pointed out, however, that the hand gesture was actually derived from one used by rabbis during Hebraic benedictions.

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Nimoy signs autographs as he arrives at the Premiere of Paramount Pictures' 'Star Trek Into Darkness' in 2013. (Getty Images)

In 2009, he returned to play an older version of his iconic character in the film Star Trek, who meets his younger self, played by Zachary Quinto. Critic Roger Ebert called the older Spock “the most human character in the film.”

When the movie was released, Nimoy told The Associated Press that in his late 70s he was probably closer than ever to being as comfortable with himself as the logical Spock always appeared to be.

"I know where I'm going, and I know where I've been," he said.

A touching message the actor sent on Twitter last Sunday has now become his last public words.

Additional reporting by AP

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