The Tragic Death Of Michael Clarke Duncan

When you talk about a versatile and talented supporting actor, Michael Clarke Duncan's name will most definitely come up in the conversation. The guy could play anything. He got his big break playing Bear in the 1998 film Armageddon before going on to wow the world with his unbelievably dramatic portrayal of John Coffey in "The Green Mile." Before that, he played bit parts whenever Hollywood needed a big guy. He acted in nearly 100 movies and television shows throughout his life, according to IMDb, including "Planet of the Apes," "Kung Fu Panda," and "Daredevil." His portfolio is seriously impressive.

Duncan came from a background that was rough and unforgiving. He refused to be typecast, whether it was in Hollywood or in life. The hulking man had a voice that was unmatched and nearly magical, and, unfortunately, we'll have to watch reruns if we ever want to hear it again. Michael Clark Duncan died tragically before his time.

Big guy, big heart, big heart problems

We love to watch an actor claw themselves out from a pit of poverty to finally "make it." They're the underdog. Most people born poor, stay poor. It gives people hope, and it hurts that much more when these beacons of perseverance die before their time. It's another reason why Michael Clark Duncan's death is so tragic. The actor came from a life of poverty in southside Chicago, says The New York Times, before working as a ditch digger and, eventually, going on to work in several amazing films.

The BBC reports that Duncan was only 54 when he died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on September 3, 2012. A few months before his death, the "Armageddon" actor suffered a myocardial infarction. It didn't kill him then, but it was complications from the July heart attack that eventually did Duncan in. He was a big guy and big guys tend to have heart problems. The world will certainly miss the smooth bass of Duncan's voice and his versatile acting talent that brought us to laughs and to tears whenever the occasion arose.

Hollywood mourned his death

Those in Hollywood who worked with Duncan had nothing but good things to say about the actor. Bruce Willis called Duncan "a great human being," and Tom Hanks said that he was the "treasure we all discovered on the set of 'The Green Mile,'" adding that Duncan was "magic" (via the BBC). Frank Darabont, director of "The Green Mile," said Duncan was "one of the finest people I've ever had the privilege to work with or know," and that he was the "gentlest of souls — an exemplar of decency, integrity, and kindness."

Others echoed their sentiments. Terry Crews said that Duncan "paved the way for me and many Black actors," adding that he was "honored to have known him and called him a friend." Olivia Munn recalled that Duncan "always had a smile on his face & a big bear hug ready for you," according to The Hollywood Reporter. Actress Niecy Nash said of Duncan: "Big guy w/an even bigger heart," per CBS.

Michael Clarke Duncan made changes to improve his life before his death

Duncan's 6'5" frame helped him land specific roles, while also making him memorable. Biography reports that he weighed more than 300 pounds before suffering from the myocardial infarction. After the event, he made changes to improve his health. In a 2012 interview with PETA, the Oscar-nominated star shared that he wanted to try something new when he embarked upon a vegetarian diet. He said he felt better after giving up meat, adding that he was "a lot stronger" than he was when he ate meat. Along with feeling better, Duncan lost 35 pounds.

The actor also changed his workout routine. In another interview with CNN, he explained that he would sometimes get bored working out in his home gym, so he spiced up his workout routine by getting a tractor trailer truck tire, which he "beat ... to death" with a sledge hammer in his backyard.

Duncan's will sparked a fight between fiance Omarosa and his family

Sadly, things got messy after Duncan's death. Duncan reportedly became secretly engaged to Omarosa Manigault in the summer of 2012 before his health took a turn for the worse in July, according to TMZ. The outlet reported that the couple reportedly planned a wedding for January the following year.

According to USA Today, Duncan made changes to his will months before he died, making Manigault the primary beneficiary. His sister, Judy, claimed that he was not in his right mind when the changes were made and accused Manigault of manipulating him, and even casting doubt on whether the two were actually engaged, per The Daily Beast. The family claimed Duncan was preparing to break up with the former "The Apprentice" star before his untimely death. The Duncan family also alleged that Manigault sold many of the actor's personal items, such as watches, cars, and awards, after he died. Manigault and Duncan's family sparred over what to put on the star's tombstone, which remained unmarked for 16 months after he was buried.