The Oscar-nominated star of The Green Mile, Michael Clarke Duncan, has tragically died, after receiving two months of treatment following a heart attack he suffered back in July. His devastated fiancee, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth said: “I’m devastated. He was the love of my life.” Duncan had been receiving treatment in a Los Angeles hospital since his heart attack on July 13, and it is thought that he died very suddenly during a brief moment when Omarosa stepped out of his room.
Duncan was only 54. Tributes have already started flooding in for this ‘gentle giant’ who captivated audiences with his portrayal in 1999 of John Coffey, alongside Tom Hanks in The Green Mile. His co-star Tom Hanks said: “I am terribly saddened at the loss of Big Mike. He was the treasure we all discovered on the set of The Green Mile. He was magic. He was a big love of man and his passing leaves us stunned.”
Duncan began his film career on the set of Armageddon where he was cast as Bear. It was not until he starred on The Green Mile however, the following year, that Hollywood really began top take notice of him. In 2000 Duncan played opposite Bruce Willis in The Whole Nine Yards and he then went on to play an ape in Tim Burton’s Planet Of The Apes, playing Attar. In 2002 he starred with The Rock in The Scorpion King, and then in 2005 he played Manute in the dark and mysterious film Sin City.
In 2008 he voiced the role of Commander Vachir the Javan Rhino for Kung Fu Panda and then in 2011 he starred opposite leading man Ryan Reynolds as Kilowog in The Green Lantern. His final role came as he starred in From The Rough, a film based on the true story of a former swimming coach who became the first woman ever to coach college men’s golf team.
Tributes from many of his working colleagues are showing just what a huge personality Duncan was, as Frank Darabont, who directed him in Armageddon was ‘devastated’, said: “[He was] one of the finest people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with or know. Michael was the gentlest of souls – an exemplar of decency, integrity and kindness. The sadness I feel is inexpressible.” The Rock, aka Dwayne Johnson, wrote: “When something happens, we always say it happens for a reason ~ Michael Clarke Duncan 12/10/57 – 9/3/12 I’ll miss you my brother.” Whilst Jordin Sparks remembered the star by saying: “RIP Michael Clarke Duncan. Thank you for being so kind to me & for sharing your talent with the world. You will be truly missed.”
Extra host Mario Lopez spoke of Duncan as a ‘class act’, saying: “R.I.P Michael Clarke Duncan… One of the nicest & most professional guys I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. So sad.” And the internationally acclaimed boxer – Evander Holyfield said: “My prayers go out to @OfficialMCD @omarosa and his family.”
The 6ft 5in, 300 pound actor had been working as a bodyguard for Will Smith and Jamie Foxx before he hit the bigtime in Hollywood, and it was when one of his clients, the Notorious B.I.G. was killed in 1997, that he decided to leave the security business. It is thought that on the day of his heart attack, his fiancee, the former Apprentice star Omarosa, performed ‘heroic CPR and re-started’ the actor’s heart at his LA home before he was rushed to the hospital.
Omarosa had been tweeting to her followers since he had the attack, “Everyday GOD continues to smile upon my luv Michael Clarke Duncan on this arduous road to recovery. God is with us every step of the way!!” The couple had been together for over two years and Omarosa had been referring to Duncan as ‘my hubby’ and ‘my love’ as she waited by his hospital bedside. Duncan died on 3 September 2012.