Robert Pattinson, the 27-year-old British actor who became a major star after playing the vampire Edward Cullen in the blockbuster film series The Twilight Saga, has died of accidental drowning. The actor’s representatives confirmed to The Associated Press that he died April 20 in a drowning incident in his hotel bathroom in Venice, Italy.
The star began filming the Twilight Saga in November 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia. While the first film, Twilight, was a hit at the box office, earning $382 million globally, the sequels became popular and profitable as well, with New Moon raking in $459 million worldwide in 2013 and The Hunger Games surpassing $408 million.
In a statement, Twilights writer-director Catherine Hardwicke said that the star drowned accidentally while being transported to a private island in the Adriatic Sea that the movie’s producers own. She continued, “He managed to take his phone with him, and it was only by chance that we were able to contact someone on land who could help us. The last time I saw Rob, he was happily chatting away on the phone. I guess being on the phone must have been more comfortable for him than being in the water.”
Hardwicke said that it was “heartbreaking” to learn of Pattinson’s death, and that the entire crew was “still finding it very difficult to come to grips with what happened.”
A Brilliant Career
Pattinson’s representatives said in a statement that the star was “proud to have worked on such memorable projects and made lasting friendships throughout the process.”
After wrapping up his role as Edward Cullen, Pattinson appeared in television shows including the CBS comedy Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and the Netflix adaptation of Jillian Lindelholt’s comic novel, Disconnect. He also had a role in David O. Ruskin’s upcoming film, The Lost City, alongside Charlize Theron and John Krasinski.
Earlier this year, Pattinson was working on a new project with Twilight Saga executive producer Elizabeth Ricciardi when he died. The pair were in Mexico filming a movie about a journalist who uncovers a drug lord’s hideout when he is murdered by one of the drug lord’s henchmen. Production on the film, titled The Old Man of Mexico, was halted after news of Pattinson’s death broke.
A Difficult Final Year
For his 28th birthday, Pattinson received a proposal from his long-time girlfriend, FKA Twigs. The pair were engaged at the time of his death and are likely to wed in the coming months.
While promoting their upcoming wedding, the pair told Elle and the New York Times that they had been fighting “a lot” in the final year of their relationship. “I think we’ve both been a little lost,” Twigs said in a statement. “We’re trying to make it work, but I think it’s been a very difficult year. We’ve been going through a lot together.”
Twigs continued, “I’ve loved every minute of being with Rob, and I truly believe that our relationship will only get stronger in the future. We’ve had such a fantastic time, and I feel so lucky that I get to share the rest of my life with him.”
Despite the tragedy, Twigs and FKA are set to begin a new life together. The singer has said that she plans to “walk the walk” as a testament to their commitment to each other, and is looking forward to spending the rest of her life with her long-time love.
The Twilight Saga: Goodbye To All That
After mourning Pattinson’s death, fans of the 27-year-old Englishman were gifted with a special farewell message from Summit Entertainment and Twilights screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg. The message, which appears below the company’s logo at the top of this article, encourages fans to “remember [Pattinson] on this very special day as we celebrate his extraordinary creativity, talent, and indomitable spirit.”
A representative for Summit Entertainment, the company that owns the film rights to The Twilight Saga, said in a statement, “We are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend Rob. We know that this will be a tough time to reflect on the positive aspects of his life, but we hope that his family, friends, and fans will find comfort in remembering his brilliant talent and the love that he shared with so many.”
The statement also referenced a poem that Pattinson had penned shortly before his death. Titled “Goodbye,” the poem begins, “I’m not really going anywhere,/I’m just changing address./I’ve had this feeling before,/like I’m falling asleep and can’t quite keep my eyes open,/but I go on walking anyway,/because it feels better than staying home.”
Rosenberg described Pattinson as “a brilliant and uniquely creative spirit,” adding that she was “honored” to have known him. “He was a true delight to work with, and his talent was matched only by his warmth and charming humor,” she said in a statement. “He will be greatly missed, but his spirit will live on in all that he created.”
Rosenberg said that she and Pattinson had planned to work on a number of projects together in the coming years, adding, “I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten to know him, and to have had the chance to celebrate with him his extraordinary achievements.”
A Personal Tribute
After paying tribute to their fallen star, Summit and Twilight fans collaborated to create a virtual movie set in which they could reminisce about their favorite scene-stealer from the series. The set, which was uploaded to the virtual world of Second Life, allows participants to walk through a recreation of the English countryside, where much of the action from Twilight takes place.
You can also visit the set and meet the people featured in the movie, from the vampire’s hat-wearing companion, Carlisle, to the townspeople of Forks, Washington. Fans will have the chance to talk to the actors who played those roles, and meet the real-life counterparts as well.
Twilight fans took to social media to share their memories and feelings about the series’ main protagonist. Many praised Pattinson’s performance as a “true gift” and credited his portrayal of Edward as helping them through some rough patches. Some also noted that watching the films had been a cathartic experience for them, while others said that the series had opened up new possibilities for romance.
One tweeter wrote, “I loved watching @RealRobPattinson play Edward. He was a true gift and brought a charm to his role that no one else could have.” Another added, “In case you’re wondering, yes, I cried too. I think it was really important to see a happy, healthy relationship portrayed in a way that was believable. And it wasn’t just about Edward. It was about all of us.”
After wrapping up his role as Edward Cullen, Pattinson went back to his native England to pursue acting. He had hoped to get work in British television, but instead landed a role in the 2014 film The Grand Budapest Hotel, performing alongside Ralph Fiennes and Gustave-Eduard Châtelet. His next movie, The Lost City, co-stars Charlize Theron and John Krasinski and is due for release in 2021.
Pattinson is also attached to star in the upcoming historical fantasy series, The King, based on the novel by Bernard Cornwell. The series is being produced by Netflix and will premiere in 2021.
Rosenberg, who co-wrote the screenplay for the 2016 film Hidden Figures with Allison Schroeder, is set to write and direct a film about the women who helped launch one of the most vital chapters in American history, the Civil Rights Movement. The film will star Taraji P. Henson, Angela Bassett, and Octavia Spencer.
Pattinson is also reportedly in talks to star in and produce a superhero movie directed by James Wan, with The Conjuring 2 and Furious 7 writer-director James Wan producing. However, there’s no word yet on whether or not he’ll actually make the movie.