Tragic news of Austin Powers star Verne Troyer who sadly passed away on Saturday at aged just 49 which was confirmed on his Facebook page.

But in 2012 the actor made a kind gesture to a Ballymoney charity.Best known for his roles in the Harry Potter and Austin Powers movies, Verne also has appeared in a host of other films and TV shows including Star Wars, Celebrity Juice and even delved into the world of reality TV when in 2009 he appeared in Celebrity Big Brother. Most recently, 2018, he stared in a film called ‘Gnome Alone’ playing ‘The Gnome’.

Verne was born with the genetic disorder known as achondroplasia dwarfism which left him 2ft 8in (81cm) tall.

But it was in January 2012 that Verne made a huge impact on Compass Advocacy Network (CAN), a Ballymoney based charity. The charity was broken into and thieves took around £1000 which had been raised by the charity as part of Children in Need.

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The actor had recently been in Northern Ireland and met some of thoses who use and benefit for the services that Compass Advocacy Network provide. On hearing the charity had been targeted by thieves, Verne donated what was described at the time as a “substantial sum”.

Verne also included a letter with his donation which read,

“I heard what happened and I just wanted to help you and the kids.Please tell them hello from me. Also, remember you can do anything you set your mind to, always be optimistic.”

Speaking also at the time Linda McKendry who works for the charity said that the charity and its members were,

“really, really touched by Vernes donation”

It has come to light that earlier this month the actor was admitted to hospital but it wasn’t revealed as to the reason why at the time, but it was speculated that the actor had been battling with alcohol problems and suicidal thoughts. This unfortunately appears to now have some link to his untimely death but at present can only be taken as speculation.

FUSE FM asked Linda from CAN this morning about The actors sudden death,

“Verne was a global ambassador for Best Buddies and he took our group of kids ten pin bowling and out for dinner when he was here filming the Keith Lemon movie. There should be a UTV video in the archive. He was a total superstar who was amazing with our kids helping them to understand that it was good to be different and he spoke and advised them on a really personal level. Shortly after this we were burgled and we lost some fundraised money that the kids had collected from bag packs etc and the kids told Verne about it. He had stayed in touch with them all. He sent us a cheque replacing the lost money and a fabulous handwritten letter which I still have and will now cherish very deeply. Verne completely changed my pre conceived opinion about him within minutes of meeting him. He was a warm, genuine man who had a huge heart and amazing compassion and empathy with people with learning disabilities. He gave a lot of his time to Best Buddies and the entire BB team worldwide will feel his loss deeply.”

Linda continued,

“I am shocked and saddened to hear of Vernes death but I will always remember him with fondness and remember how a Hollywood Star made a connection with our local community and our wee town. Our hearts and thoughts go to his family at this sad time and hope that they get solace in knowing how much he helped inspire people with learning disabilities. His legacy will remain and we at Best Buddies NI and CAN feel privileged to have known him. X”

Other celebrity’s have expressed their thoughts and sympathies over social media.

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