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Stefan Karl Stefansson death: 'LazyTown' Robbie Rotten actor dies from bile duct cancer, aged 43

Star of hit children's show aired in 180 countries worldwide loses two-year battle with illness

Tom Barnes
Wednesday 22 August 2018 08:30
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Stefan Karl Stefansson dies from cancer

Stefan Karl Stefansson, best known for playing villain Robbie Rotten in the hit children’s television show LazyTown, has died aged 43 after a fight with bile duct cancer.

He had been battling the illness for two years prior to his death, his family said.

In a statement posted on Facebook on Tuesday, his wife, Steinunn Olina Thorsteinsdottir, paid tribute to the actor, who starred in the Icelandic series between 2004 and 2014.

“My beloved, Stefan Karl Stefansson, 43, has passed away after battling aggressive bile duct cancer for two years,” she wrote. “Per Stefan's wishes, there will be no funeral. His earthly remains will be scattered in secrecy in a distant ocean.

“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.”

Stefannson’s career began at the age of 19 in 1994 when he started work as a puppeteer on TV in his home nation Iceland.

He was later recruited by LazyTown creator, Magnus Scheving, who played hero Sportacus in the series.

The concept was then picked up by Nickelodeon, going on to be aired in more than 180 countries worldwide and being dubbed in 30 different languages.

Stefannson announced he had been diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma in 2016, prompting members of LazyTown’s production team to raise money to pay his living costs when he became too sick to work.

In March this year, the actor was said his cancer was inoperable and ended chemotherapy treatment to extend his life the following month.

Announcing the news on Twitter in April before closing his social media accounts, Stefannson wrote: “It’s not until they tell you you’re going to die soon that you realise how short life is.

“Time is the most valuable thing in life because it never comes back. And whether you spend it in the arms of a loved one or alone in a prison-cell, life is what you make of it. Dream big.”

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