Actor Sean Astin has paid a touching tribute to his mother Patty Duke, who passed away on Tuesday 29 March at the age of 69. The actor posted a photo on his Facebook page of Patty holding him as a baby, and wrote a heartfelt message that began: "I love you mum."
"This morning, our beloved wife, mother, grandmother, matriarch and the exquisite artist, humanitarian and champion for mental health, Anna PATTY DUKE Pearce, closed her eyes, quieted her pain and ascended to a beautiful place," he wrote. "We celebrate the infinite love and compassion she shared through her work and throughout her life."
I love you mom.OUR FAMILY STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF PATTY DUKEThis morning, our beloved wife, mother, grandmother,... Posted by Sean Astin on Tuesday, 29 March 2016
Sean Astin has shared a touching tribute to his mother Patty Duke
Patty was an acclaimed actress who starred as Helen Keller in the 1962 film The Miracle Worker – for which she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress - and who went on to headline her own sitcom. As well as her Academy Award, Patty won three Emmys and two Golden Globes. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982 and spent a great deal of her life campaigning and lobbying for mental health awareness.
Lord of the Rings star Sean confirmed that Patty was "surrounded by her family" prior to her death, and described being with his mother in her final moments as "a powerful experience".
"She was at peace," he told Entertainment Weekly. "When it was over, we all looked at each other and we thought, you can be an atheist, a skeptic, agnostic, you can be whatever you want, but what just happened in this room is indescribably beautiful."
Sean described his mother as a "tireless warrior" in her campaign for mental health awareness
The 45-year-old star of The Goonies has now started a CrowdRise mental health project to honour his mother, who he described as "a tireless warrior" when it came to promoting mental health awareness. Speaking to Good Day LA on Tuesday, Sean said the campaign is helping him cope with his loss.
"I feel rock solid at this moment because I'm charged with a sense of mission for her," the actor said. "So, it's great to have purpose. There's some things in her life that she’d like to continue after her, and we talked a lot after that. The moment of someone's passing, particularly a public person, generates a pulse, so I just want to honor that."
He continued: "At that time in the mid-80's, when she 'went public' with her diagnosis and sharing her story about her mania and her depression and all that. I don't know how many actors or celebrities had, kind of, done that.
"I go around and give speeches on this kind of carrying the torch for her and stuff, and I would say that the world now is infinitely more understanding and compassionate, and yeah, there's still stigma, but it's a different world out there. And, I think she had a nice role to play in that evolution of our society, so we're all very proud of her for that."