Actor Verne Troyer dead at age 49

Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night XIX at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & SpaFeaturing: Verne TroyerWhere: Phoenix, Arizona, United StatesWhen: 23 Mar 2013Credit:**Not available for publication in Singapore. Not available for Contact Music**

Verne Troyer, who played Dr. Evil’s small, silent sidekick “Mini-Me” in the “Austin Powers” movie franchise, has died. He was 49.

No cause of death was given, but the statement describes Troyer as a “fighter” who was unable to overcome a recent bout of adversity then goes on to discuss depression and suicide.

In a statement posted on Instagram, Troyer's family said, "Depression and Suicide are very serious issues. You never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside. Be kind to one another. And always know, it’s never too late to reach out to someone for help."

Troyer became a celebrity and pop-culture phenomenon after starring alongside Mike Myers as “Mini-Me,” the tiny, hairless clone of villain Dr. Evil in two of the three “Austin Powers” films.

“Verne was the consummate professional and a beacon of positivity for those of us who had the honor of working with him,” Myers said in a statement. “It is a sad day, but I hope he is in a better place. He will be greatly missed.”

Troyer appeared in 1999?s “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” and 2002?s “Austin Powers in Goldmember,” in which “Mini-Me” switches sides and becomes a miniature version of Powers. Both hero and villain were played by Myers, who also put Troyer in his 2008 film “The Love Guru.”

He also played the banker goblin Griphook in 2001?s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and appeared on dozens of TV shows including “Boston Public,” ?Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and “MADtv.”

Troyer was born in 1969 in Sturgis, Michigan with achondroplasia, a genetic condition that kept him less than 3 feet tall.

Troyer struggled with alcoholism and went to rehab many times. Most recently, Troyer was rushed to the hospital on April 3, after a friend of his called police to tell them the actor was suicidal.

His family is asking that in lieu of flowers to make a donation in Troyer's name to either of his two favorite charities: The Starkey Hearing Foundation and Best Buddies.

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