Michael Clarke Duncan, best known for his roles in iconic films like The Green Mile and Armageddon has passed away today at the age of 54, the New York Daily News is reporting.
According to a statement from Duncan’s fiancée, Omarosa Manigault, released through publicist Joy Fehily, the former bodyguard-turned-actor passed away Monday morning at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was being treated for a heart attack that he suffered nearly two months ago and “never fully recovered” from. “Manigault is grateful for all of your prayers and asks for privacy at this time,” the statement said. “Celebrations of his life, both private and public, will be announced at a later date.”
Prior to acting, Duncan was employed as a bodyguard for multiple stars, including Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, LL Cool J, and Jamie Foxx. It was the murder of Notorious B.I.G. in 1997 – who Duncan had been initially hired to protect before switching assignments – that prompted him to quit and pursue acting full time.
He rose to fame after his portrayal of an inmate on death row in 1999′s The Green Mile. His performance in the role earned him an Oscar nomination, and parts in films like The Whole Nine Yards, Planet of the Apes, and Sin City followed.