Gaspard Ulliel, the French actor and model, has passed away at the age of 37. As announced by his family on Wednesday (January 19), Ulliel died following a skiing accident, having collided with another skier at a crossing point.
One of France’s best-known actors, he starred in 2004’s A Very Long Engagement, and went on to play a young Hannibal Lecter in the Silence of the Lambs prequel Hannibal Rising. In 2014, he would step into the shoes of Yves Saint Laurent for the eponymous biopic of the French designer, and made his own waves in the fashion industry as the face of the Chanel men’s fragrance Bleu de Chanel.
More recently, the film star won the César Award for Best Actor, in recognition of his role in Xavier Dolan’s 2017 film It's Only the End of the World. This year, he is set to star in the Marvel series Moon Knight, with the series’ trailer arriving online just a day before his death.
According to Ulliel’s family and agent, he was transported to Grenoble by helicopter on Tuesday, after suffering severe head trauma from the accident. However, he did not survive his injuries. The other skier reportedly wasn’t hospitalised.
“It is unimaginable, insane, and so painful to even think of writing these words,” says Xavier Dolan in a statement posted to Instagram in the wake of his death. “Your discreet laughter, your attentive eye… All the features of your person were in fact born of a sparkling sweetness. It is your whole being that has transformed my life, a being that I loved deeply, and that I will always love. I can’t say anything else, I’m exhausted, stunned by your departure.”
“Gaspard Ulliel grew up with cinema and cinema grew with him,” adds the French prime minister, Jean Castex, in a statement. “They loved each other madly.”
In a 2009 cover interview with Dazed, Ulliel himself confirms this love affair. “My real passion is cinema,” he says. “All the other stuff is very nice, but the reason I’m doing this is for the short period between ‘action’ and ‘cut’.”
Ulliel is survived by his partner, Gaëlle Piétri, and a son. Our thoughts are with all of the actor’s loved ones.