The social media world was stunned today by the news that Leonard Nimoy, famously known as Commander Spock in the Star Trek franchise, died at 83. In a press release from StarTrek.com, Nimoy reportedly succumbed to the final stages of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), a lung disease associated with many years of smoking. He was diagnosed with COPD in January 2014, an illness that came as a result of years of smoking and which afflicted him despite the fact the actor had quit smoking three decades ago. He revealed his diagnosis on Twitter and continued to warn them about the dangers of smoking and encouraged fans to quit before being diagnosed with the disease
A former United States Army veteran, Nimoy’s rise to fame came in the iconic 60’s television series Star Trek, where he played the half-Vulcan, half-human Spock. Although the science fiction series lasted only three seasons, he went on to play the role for the next five decades, appearing in eight Star Trek films (one of which he directed) and made a guest appearance in the first Star Trek spin-off series, Star Trek: The Next Generation.
While Nimoy was well known for his role as Spock, he had a storied career appearing on numerous television programs and films. Immediately after Star Trek was cancelled, he starred in 4th and 5th seasons of Mission Impossible as The Great Paris, a retired magician who joined the Impossible Missions Force. Nimoy appeared numerous guest roles, before and after Star Trek, such as Perry Mason, Dragnet, The Twilight Zone, Rawhide, Gunsmoke, The Outer Limits, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Columbo, T.J. Hooker (starring his longtime friend William Shatner), The Simpsons, Futurama, Becker, Fringe and The Big Bang Theory. He had retired from playing Spock in 2010, stating that his advanced age and his desire to allow Zachary Quinto the opportunity to shine in the role in J.J. Abrams reboot franchise that started in 2009. However, he would go on to become the busiest retired man in history by appearing in numerous voice roles, such as Transformers: Dark of the Moon and cameo roles in Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song” and Star Trek Into Darkness.
A week before his death, Emergency services were called to Nimoy’s Bel Air home. It was assumed this was due to his lung disease, but his agent’s representative declined to comment. This past Sunday, Nimoy took to Twitter and left this message. This would be his final Tweet.
Fans and friends of Leonard took to social media to express their condolences to the long-time actor.
And of course, long-time friend William Shatner posted this photo from his WhoSay account and said “I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love.”