Robert Downey Jr. has penned a heartfelt tribute to his late mother Elsie, who passed away last Monday at the age of 80. The actor posted a black-and-white photo and obituary-style message about his actress mum on his Facebook page, much to the sympathy of his 21.7million followers. Describing Elsie as his "role model" and also inspiration to kick his addiction, Robert started by saying he felt the need to share some news.
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'She was my role model as an actor, and as a woman who got sober and stayed that way," wrote Robert Downey Jr
"I wanna say something about her life, and a generic 'obit' won't suffice," wrote The Judge star, four days after his loss. He went on to describe how his mother "dropped out of college and headed to NY, with dreams of becoming a comedienne" and later met his father Robert Downey Sr. in 1962. The couple married and had two children – Robert and his older sister Allyson – and Elsie starred in four of her husband's films being his "muse".Sadly, a decade later, she became an alcoholic and the pair divorced in 1975.
Robert Downey Jr recalled living with his mum in a Manhattan appartment ridden with 'cockroaches' and 'broken dreams'
A young Robert moved to Manhattan with his mum and her new partner Jonas – "who became a second father to me," wrote the actor – where they lived in a small flat ridden with "cockroaches" and "broken dreams".Elsie decided "she'd had enough" and sobered up, but later suffered decades of heart disease, bypasses and other conditions. Robert, whose own 21-year-old son Indio was recently found guilty of cocaine possession, opened up about his past struggle with addiction and how his mother had helped him. "I don't remember what she said, but I haven't drank or used since," he explained. As Elsie's health deteriorated, the director moved his mum out to Los Angeles where she watched her two grandsons Indio and Exton grow up.
Robert Downey Jr with his wife Susan, mum Elsie (left) and mother-in-law (right)
In March of this year, she suffered another cardiac arrest and was put on life support but by June she was "completely lucid". She had another set of seizures and on 22 September at 11pm, she passed away. Robert ended his heart-wrenching message with: "She was my role model as an actor, and as a woman who got sober and stayed that way. She was also reclusive, self-deprecating, a stoic Scotch-German rural Pennsylvanian, a ball buster, stubborn, and happy to hold a grudge. "My ambition, tenacity, loyalty, 'moods,' grandiosity, occasional passive aggression, and my faith.... That's all her...and I wouldn't have it any other way. If anyone out there has a mother, and she's not perfect, please call her and say you love her anyway...".