© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

'Never Known A Kinder Person': Actor Nick Cordero Dies Of COVID-19 At 41

Nick Cordero attends the 68th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 8, 2014 in New York City.
Dimitrios Kambouris
Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions
Nick Cordero attends the 68th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 8, 2014 in New York City.

Tall and lanky, Nick Cordero played a variety of tough guys on Broadway – a 1920s gangster in Bullets Over Broadway, an abusive husband in Waitress, and a mobster who takes a young boy under his wing in the musical version of Chazz Palmantieri's A Bronx Tale. He died on Sunday at the age of 41, his wife, Amanda Kloots, announced on Instagram.

Kloots, a dancer and fitness instructor, detailed the ups and downs of her husband's medical condition on her Instagram page where more than 450,000 followers helped to promote a GoFundMe to help pay for his hospital bills. It raised almost $800,000. The page became a place of hope for Cordero's many fans, who Kloots encouraged to sing a song he'd written, "Live Your Life."

Cordero had been in Los Angeles in March, working on an immersive production of Rock of Ages, when he developed symptoms of pneumonia. He was admitted into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he was diagnosed with COVID-19, put into an induced coma and placed on a ventilator. He was given blood thinners but developed clots and had his right leg amputated. He also underwent dialysis, was placed on a heart-lung bypass machine, was given a temporary pacemaker, had mini-strokes and sepsis, and lost more than 60 pounds. Kloots told Gayle King on CBS This Morningin early July that Cordero's lungs were so damaged he'd likely need a double lung transplant to survive.

Cordero was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1978. He came to the U.S. to star in a musical called The Toxic Avenger. He was cast in the national tour of Rock of Ages and joined the Broadway production in 2012. Two years later, he played a mobster with playwrighting skills in the stage adaptation of Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway, where he became friends with actor Zach Braff.

Cordero, his wife and son were staying at Braff's guest house in L.A., when Cordero fell ill. On Sunday, Braff posted on Instagram: "I have honestly never known a kinder person. But Covid doesn't care about the purity of your soul, or the goodness in your heart. The last thing he ever texted me was to look out for his wife and one year old son, Elvis. I promise the world they will never want for anything. I feel so incredibly grateful I got to have Nick Cordero enter my life. Rest In Peace. Rest in Power."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jeff Lunden is a freelance arts reporter and producer whose stories have been heard on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition, as well as on other public radio programs.