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Dame Helen Mirren breaks silence on heartbreaking family death in emotional statement

Rio Hackford was the son of Helen's husband, Taylor

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Gemma Strong
Gemma StrongOnline Digital News Director
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Dame Helen Mirren and her husband Taylor Hackford are still trying to come to terms with the untimely death of his son, Rio Hackford.

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The couple, who have been married since 1997, released a statement to People in which they said they remain "both inspired by the life of our son and stepson… and heartbroken by his loss".

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"His life showed us how to live in generosity and community," they added. "He shared his life's journey with so many who now mourn him, and at the same time, celebrate their fortune in knowing him."

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Actor Rio, whose credits include The Mandalorian and American Crime Story, passed away on 14 April at the age of 51, his brother Alex confirmed.

helen mirren rio

Helen is mourning the untimely death of her stepson, Rio Hackford

"Rio died of uveal melanoma, a very aggressive and rare form of cancer," Helen and Taylor confirmed in their statement. "We would beg everyone reading this to get their eyes tested at least once a year, which might save their loved ones from this cancer."

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Rio was born in 1970 to Academy Award-winning director Taylor Hackford and his first wife Georgie Lowres. He started his acting career with an appearance in Pretty Woman as an uncredited street junkie, before taking roles in 1995's Safe, the Ralph Fiennes film Strange Days and 1996's Swingers, in which he played Skully.

helen mirren stepsons

Helen and Taylor with his two sons, Rio and Alex

He went on to appear in 2003 film I Love Your Work, Raising Helen, Fred Claus, Jonah Hex, Parker and The Lookalike.

Rio also made a number of TV appearances, playing small roles in dramas like True Detective, When Nature Calls and Underground, with his last role being that of a manager in Pam & Tommy.

helen mirren rio 1z

Rio was just 51 at the time of his passing

A huge number of tributes have been paid to the star, including a message from Renee Zellweger, who said: "Rio… a titan of kindness, love, class, courage. And cool. A legend."

Helen herself has taken to Instagram to share a throwback photo of her beloved stepson, simply writing, "El Rio" in the caption.

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