People magazine is reporting that Inception actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s older brother Dan has died in Hollywood at the age of 36. The news was first announced via Twitter by Joseph. The actor also posted a message of remembrance to his website.
Dan Gordon-Levitt was a teacher at Flow Temple Arts School in Venice Beach, Calif.. He was also a free-spirited fire spinning artist whom his younger brother called his “first super hero.” The cause of death remains unknown, and an autopsy is scheduled to be conducted shortly.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is just the latest celebrity to lose a family member unexpectedly. He may be able to learn from the experiences of some other famous faces who have lost a loved one too soon.
Chris Penn’s Death Leaves Brother Sean Reeling
KABC-TV Los Angeles reported the death of actor Chris Penn on Jan. 24, 2006. The brother of actor Sean Penn was 40 when he was found dead in his Los Angeles home. While Sean grieved in private, he did speak to Larry King about his brother’s death in September 2006. Despite Chris’ past drug use, the actor was adamant that his brother’s death was due to his battle with weight.
“He had certainly been a fantastically self-abusing guy over periods of his life, but that wasn’t the case in the end. I mean, it was a natural death. But a natural death that was brought on by some hard living, but particularly weight,” explained Sean. It was reported that Chris Penn weighed some 300 pounds at the time of his death.
In the end, it may have been a combination of causes that killed the talented actor. Although the coroner ruled an enlarged heart as the official cause, Valium, morphine, marijuana, an antihistamine and codeine were all found in his system.
Speaking of the impact of his brother’s death on him, Sean related to King, “It’s a piece of you. I’m one of three, so I’m either my right, left arm or the center at various times, and each was the other, so I intermittently have lost my right arm, the left or in the center, but that’s life and people go through that.”
Natasha Richardson’s Unexpected Death on Ski Slopes
In 2009, MSNBC reported on the accidental death of actress Natasha Richardson, 45. The wife of actor Liam Neeson suffered an epidural hematoma following a fall on a Quebec ski vacation with her family. An epidural hematoma is most commonly caused by a skull fracture, which causes bleeding between the skull and covering of the brain and brain swelling. Without treatment, the condition is fatal.
Neeson, who has remained closed-lipped on the subject of his late wife, seems to be moving on with his life and concentrating on raising the two teenage sons he shared with Richardson. According to ABC News, Neeson recently began dating an old acquaintance.
John Travolta and Kelly Preston Heartbroken Over Death of Son
Actors John Travolta and Kelly Preston were “heartbroken,” according to CNN, following the death of their son Jett, 16, in 2009. The teen suffered a seizure while vacationing with his family in the Bahamas. While the official word from the family was that Jett succumbed due to complications from Kawasaki disease, rumors ran wild that his death actually had ties to Scientology. The Travoltas have been grieving for their son in private, offering only a few statements to the press. People magazine announced in June that the couple are expecting a baby.
What Can Joseph Gordon-Levitt Learn from Other Celebrities?
While it is true that celebrities are different from the rest of us in many ways, when they lose a loved one, it puts us all on a level playing field. Gordon-Levitt would be well advised to follow the lead of other celebrities and grieve in private over the death of his brother. However, celebrity being what it is, offering a few public statements about the death of his brother Dan could help quell the rumor mill and stop outrageous speculation. After a respectful amount of time, an interview with a respected media figure may prove helpful. Gordon-Levitt should also keep in mind that although he is devastated now, life will eventually return to some semblance of normalcy.