Gene Wilder’s family revealed he was listening to his favorite song as he passed away. The 83 year-old had been suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. He was at his home in Stamford, Connecticut surrounded by family when “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Ella Fitzgerald started playing on a music speaker, according to his nephew, and Wilder “was taken away”.
Wilder is best known for his roles in “Young Frankenstein”, “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, and Blazing Saddles.”
Wilder did not want others to know about his condition because he didn’t want children to lose the light in their eyes from knowing him as Willy Wonka. He didn’t want to be responsible for one less smile in the world.