Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Stefán Karl Stefánsson, Actor Who Portrayed 'Robbie Rotten' on 'LazyTown', Passes Away

Stefan Karl Stefansson has sadly passed away.

The actor, best known as Robbie Rotten on LazyTown, died on Tuesday following a longtime cancer battle, the actor's rep confirmed to E! News. The Iceland native was 43 years old.

"My beloved, Stefan Karl Stefansson, 43, has passed away after battling aggressive bile duct cancer for two years," the star's wife, Steinunn, said in a statement.

He played villain Robbie Rotten in LazyTown (Image: BBC)

In lieu of a funeral, the actor's "remains will be scattered in secrecy in a distant ocean," Steinunn explained. "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."

The puppeteer and actor rose to fame on the popular preschool television series LazyTown, which debuted in the early 2000, as the villain, Robbie Rotten, starring alongside Julianna Mauriello, who played Stephanie. Stefansson's last episode on the show was its finale in 2014. He later gained Internet fame as a meme, "We Are Number One".

"In celebration of Stefan Karl and his contribution to the world of humor and joy of heartfelt expression that unites us all, The Stefan Karl Academy & Center for the Performing Arts will launch in 2019 in Switzerland, hosted by HIAG Immobilien," the late star's friend and manager, Cheryl Edison, told E! News in a statement. "In fulfillment of Stefan Karl's wishes, The Academy will be dedicated to training young people in the history and skills of expression across all genres, while the Theater will offer audiences an opportunity to become part of Stefan's legacy through enjoyment."

In late 2016, a GoFundMe campaign was launched for the actor after it was revealed that he had been diagnosed with cancer. Stefansson shared a hopeful update with fans in February 2017.

"Thank you everyone. It brings me to tears with the amount of support, well wishes and love you have provided, I am very grateful," he wrote at the time. "Chemotherapy has been successful. I have my last drug treatment next week followed by radiation three weeks after."

However, by May 2017, his wife revealed to fans that his cancer had metastasized. "From the bottom of my heart I thank you for the support you provide me," the actor wrote to Instagram followers in June 2017. "You give me hope and you all move me."

The actor shared his last Instagram post on June 25, an inspirational message that read: 'At the end of every storm there is a rainbow of hope'.

In a statement in March, Stefansson said, "It's not until they tell you you're going to die soon that you realize 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."

LazyTown is an Icelandic educational musical comedy series that encourages kids to eat healthily and exercise. The programme features a cast and crew from Iceland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It was created by Magnús Scheving, a gymnastics champion and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LazyTown Entertainment, who also has a lead role as "Sportacus" in the show. The show aired on Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. channels around the world, among other stations globally, including Turner's Cartoonito and BBC's CBeebies.

Stefansson, who lived in Los Angeles with his family, was father to three daughters and one son.

RIP Stefan Karl Stefansson, 10 July 1975 – 21 August 2018.

Additional sources: TMZ, Mirror Online, Wikipedia (I, II), Daily Mail.

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