It is with Deepest Regrets we have to inform you

stripe

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Kevin Smith of Ares fame has passed away

r16kevinsmith.JPG



16.02.2002


Leading New Zealand actor Kevin Smith has died in a Beijing hospital after he was critically injured in a fall.

His agent, Robert Bruce, confirmed that the 38-year-old actor had died.

"I received a call from Kevin's family to say that he passed away in his sleep.

"It's a shock to us all, and a major shock to the family. They're just trying to come to terms with it all."

Mr Bruce could provide no further details.

Auckland-based Smith was injured in the Chinese capital 10 days ago and doctors treating him were concerned that he would not recover from serious injuries.

The accident occurred on February 6, the day after the actor finished work on a joint US-Chinese production, and as he was preparing to return to NZ.

The hunky local star was then to have headed to movie "boot camp" to prepare for what many believed would be his big break, a role in a Hollywood blockbuster starring Bruce Willis.

The doctor treating Smith told the Herald last night that staff from China's top movie production house, Beijing Film Studio, rushed him to the Beijing Union Hospital after the fall. Smith was believed to have been on a life-support machine before his death.

The doctor, who did not wish to be named, said Smith had suffered a severe injury to his skull and had been in a critical condition.

Acting sources have said he was injured when he fell from a great height, possibly six storeys.

Li Hao, a spokeswoman for one of the companies involved in Warriors of Virtue II, said Smith, who had completed his film contract the day before the fall, had made a big impression.

Smith's wife, Suzanne, and his parents, Geoff and Yvonne, are understood to have been with him.

In addition to his wife, Mr Smith leaves his three children, Oscar, 11, Tyrone, 9, and Willard, 3.

Mr Bruce said last night that the actor's family wanted to thank everyone who had sent messages of love and support.

Smith starred in many New Zealand stage, television and feature films and is perhaps best known for his role as Ares in Xena: Warrior Princess.

His ambitions to break into the American movie market were realised when he scored a role in the $US70 million ($166 million) Bruce Willis action film Man of War, due to start filming in Hawaii next month.

He had leaped at the chance to go to China because the role allowed him to learn from the stuntman who worked on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Smith, Auckland-born but Timaru-raised, got into acting when his wife and childhood sweetheart saw a casting call while he was sidelined by concussion during the rugby season.

He was soon a leading man, happy to laugh at his beefcake image.

"A nicer guy you wouldn't find anywhere," said friend and Comedian Mike King.

- STAFF REPORTERS
 

Krystal

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This is really a shock to me, I was checking the newsgroups when I read it. At first I was thinking it was not him, but then I see an article. This is so sad, my deepest condolences to his family and friends. He definitely will be miss by all his fans. Counting myself.

Krystal
 

MythingLink

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I don't know what to say. It's always a shock to hear this type of news. Watching any episodes of Herc and Xena that he was in are going to be a bit different now.

My thoughts and prayers go to his family.
 

peachy

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i was so sad when i read about the death of kevin smith, i loved him as ares he was a very talented actor, and a joy to watch.
watching any of my hercules/xena tapes will be sad now.
my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends...peachy
 

stripe

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Update

From the New Zealand Herald

Kevin Smith fell from film set tower, agent reveals

19.02.2002
By LOUISA CLEAVE
Kevin Smith was climbing a film prop designed like a castle when he fell on to a stone base, causing the head injuries that led to his death.

The actor had been drinking but was not intoxicated, his agent said yesterday.

Robert Bruce gave details of the New Zealand actor's death in China on behalf of Smith's wife, Suzanne, and family.

He said the accident happened on Smith's last day on the set of the movie Warriors of Virtue II, and no one saw it.

Smith had arranged to finish filming early so he could return to New Zealand and spend time with his family before heading to the United States. He was to enter a Navy SEALS "boot camp" to prepare for his next role, acting alongside Bruce Willis in Hawaii.

Mr Bruce said he understood Smith drank a couple of beers, ate dinner and took a walk around the Central China Television film studios while he waited for a ride to his hotel.

The studios are in Shijiazhuang, the capital city of the Hebei Province, 250km southwest of Beijing.

"He went for a wander around the film set and there was this castle-type film set structure which he climbed and fell," Mr Bruce said. "We don't know why but he was found at the base of that with head injuries.

"On film sets there are no bars or anything like that. If you have a couple of beers it's because someone brings in a six-pack at the end of the night."

He did not know how much time elapsed before Smith was discovered, semi-conscious. Mr Bruce said Smith's family had visited the film set where he died and had told him the structure was about three storeys high.

Smith was taken to a local hospital and then transferred to Beijing in the early hours of February 6.

At the Beijing hospital he fell into a coma and did not regain consciousness.

After several days, Smith showed signs of recovery, but his body went into shock, said Mr Bruce who had told Friday night's Holmes television show that the injuries were not life-threatening. He learned early on Saturday that Smith had died.

Mr Bruce said there were no suspicious circumstances and police were not investigating the accident. An autopsy was not carried out.

Asked if climbing a film prop was something Smith would normally do, Mr Bruce said: "This was one which must have taken his fancy as a lookout.

"I guess if you put yourself in the same position, you've finished filming, you're in the studio, some people have gone home, you're waiting for a lift and wandering around. Some of these sets I've been on are absolute works of art.

"So yeah, there'd be a certain amount of interest [in this prop] I'm sure."
 

MythingLink

First Prime of ASciFi
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Thanks Stripe. I did wonder what he was doing on a set piece if his participation in the film had ended the day before. It makes a lot more sense now and I can see this happening.

So sad.
 

BONNIESTACKPOLE

FARSCAPE FANATIC
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Apr 19, 2001
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309
It's just so horrible. If only his ride had come earlier. And to think that he had actually survived the fall and was semi-concieus. Than he started to recover? That means he must have suffered, and his poor family were left with hope that he would recover, only to lose him. I'm so upset. I really loved watching Kevin on Xena and Hercules. For him to die in such a stupid accident. What a waste of a nice person and talented actor. :crying:
 

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