Austin Powers and Harry Potter actor Verne Troyer passed away on April 21, 2018, aged just 49. The circumstances of his death, it later transpired, most likely hadn’t been natural ones. Both film fans and the little person community mourned for the performer. And when photographs of his last days were uncovered on Instagram, it spawned even more sadness, as well as a few serious discussions.
Troyer was born with the condition achondroplasia dwarfism, which made him one of the shortest men in the world. Though he stopped growing at 2’8, he had a normal childhood with loving parents. “They never treated me any different than my other average-sized siblings,” Troyer said in a Reddit Ask Me Anything thread in 2014.
“I didn’t really think about my size until I got older, a few years before high school,” Troyer told The Guardian in 2015. “I never got much trouble off other kids either, although there was one incident in third grade where a kid who was much taller than me called me the M-word [midget], which is very offensive. So without even thinking, I just jumped in the air and punched him in the nose. He never bothered me again.”