Verne Troyer, who played Dr. Evil's small, silent sidekick "Mini-Me" in the "Austin Powers" movie franchise, has died, the AP reports. He was 49. A statement provided by Troyer's representatives that was also posted to his accounts on Instagram and Facebook say the actor died Saturday. No cause of death was given, but the statement describes Troyer as a "fighter" who was unable to overcome a recent bout of adversity then goes on to discuss depression and suicide. "Over the years he's struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much," the statement says. "Depression and suicide are very serious issues. You never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside. Be kind to one another. And always know, it's never too late to reach out to someone for help."
Troyer became a celebrity and pop-culture phenomenon after starring alongside Mike Myers as "Mini-Me," the tiny, hairless clone of villain Dr. Evil in two of the three "Austin Powers" films. "Verne was the consummate professional and a beacon of positivity for those of us who had the honor of working with him," Myers says in a statement. "It is a sad day, but I hope he is in a better place. He will be greatly missed." Troyer was born in 1969 in Sturgis, Michigan, with achondroplasia, a genetic condition that kept him less than 3 feet tall. "Even though his stature was small and his parents often wondered if he'd be able to reach up and open doors on his own in his life, he went on to open more doors for himself and others than anyone could have imagined," the Facebook statement says.