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Michael Nyqvist, John Wick & Dragon Tattoo Star, Dies at 56

By Brian Gallagher — June 27th, 2017

Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist, best known as the Mikael Blomkvist in the original adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, passed away earlier today at the age of 56. The actor's representative confirmed his passing in a statement that revealed he succumbed to a year-long battle with lung cancer. Here's the full statement from the actor's representative regarding his death.

"On behalf of Michael Nyqvist's representatives and family, it is with deep sadness that I can confirm that our beloved Michael, one of Sweden's most respected and accomplished actors, has passed away quietly surrounded by family after a year long battle with lung cancer. Michael's joy and passion were infectious to those who knew and loved him. His charm and charisma were undeniable, and his love for the arts was felt by all who had the pleasure of working with him."

Variety posted the full statement on the late actor passing from his family, although no details were given regarding where he passed away, or if there will be a public memorial service for the actor. Mikael Nyqvist was born November 8, 1960 in Stockholm, Sweden, given to an orphanage at birth, where he spent the first year of his life before he was given a new life by his adoptive father, a lawyer, and mother, a writer. He originally envisioned a career as a hockey player until he was sidelined by an injury, and during a year as a foreign exchange student, where he lived with a family in Omaha, Nebraska, he started developing his passion for acting, taking his first acting classes aboard and performing in various roles in school plays. After returning to Sweden, he was accepted into a ballet school, but gave it up after finding it "too stiff". When he was 19, an ex-girlfriend suggested he try theater, which lead him to apply for and be accepted to the Swedish Academic School of Drama in Malmo.

He became first well known for playing John Banck in the first series of Beck films that debuted in 1997, but his first true breakthrough role was as the alcoholic husband Rolf in Lukas Moodyson's critically-acclaimed drama Together, where he was nominated for his first of four Guldbagge Awards, the top film honors in Sweden. He won his first and only Guldbagge Award in 2003 for his role as Benny Soderstrom in The Guy in the Grave Next Door, and he continued to work regularly throughout the 2000s in a variety of Swedish films, before he landed the iconic role of Mikael Blomkvist in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and its sequels The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest, alongside Noommi Rapace. All three films were released in Sweden in 2009, with several months between each film, with both Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace landing several roles in American films shortly thereafter.

In 2011, Michael Nyqvist landed his first two American film roles, portraying a pair of villains in Abduction and Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol, then starring in a pair of independent films, Disconnect and Europa Report in 2012 and 2013. Action fans will remember the actor as Viggo Tarasov from the 2014 action classic John Wick, and he most recently starred in The Colony, The Girl In the Book, Frank & Lola, A Serious Game, I.T. and the TV series Madiba. He also has roles in Hunter Killer and Radegund, which are both in post-production. He also published a memoir in 2010 called Just After Dreaming, which chronicled his quest to find his birth parents at the age of 30, which he successfully did. The actor is survived by his wife Catharina, and their children, Ellen and Arthur.

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