Gene Wilder, star of 'Willy Wonka' dies at 83

Nephew says comedy star passed away late Sunday

(Paramount Pictures via CNN)

Gene Wilder, the star of "Willy Wonka" and Mel Brooks comedies, is dead at 83, The Associated Press reported.

Wilder's nephew told the wire service that the actor and writer died late Sunday from complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Wilder starred in such comedy classics as "Young Frankenstein" and "Blazing Saddles," as well as the children's classic, "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory."

Off-screen, Wilder's life was much darker, however. He suffered tragedy, such as the death of his third wife, comedian Gilda Radner, of cancer in 1989, Entertainment Weekly said.

He was born Jerry Silberman in 1933 in Milwaukee. As a child, he entertained his sick mother, hoping laughter would prevent her death, Entertainment Weekly said. He met Brooks while on Broadway and the two teamed up for some of Hollywood's most memorial comedies, starting with "The Producers" in 1968.