Nick Cordero, the Broadway actor whose three-month-long battle with the devastating effects of COVID-19 captured the hearts of countless well-wishers across the country, has died. He was 41.
Cordero's wife, Amanda Kloots, wrote on Instagram Sunday evening, "God has another angel in heaven now. My darling husband passed away this morning. He was surrounded in love by his family, singing and praying as he gently left this earth."
She went on, "I am in disbelief and hurting everywhere. My heart is broken as I cannot imagine our lives without him. Nick was such a bright light. He was everyone’s friend, loved to listen, help and especially talk. He was an incredible actor and musician. He loved his family and loved being a father and husband. Elvis and I will miss him in everything we do, everyday."
Kloots thanked Nick's doctor as well as his fans in her heartfelt post, writing, "I cannot begin to thank everyone enough for the outpour of love , support and help we’ve received these last 95 days. You have no idea how much you lifted my spirits at 3pm everyday as the world sang Nicks song, Live Your Life. We sang it to him today, holding his hands. As I sang the last line to him, “they’ll give you hell but don’t you light them kill your light not without a fight. Live your life,” I smiled because he definitely put up a fight. I will love you forever and always my sweet man. ❤️"
Cordero, best known for his Tony-nominated 2014 performance in "Bullets Over Broadway," was admitted to a hospital in late March with what turned out to be COVID-19. He suffered many setbacks, including being placed in a medically induced coma, losing a leg to amputation, and enduring persistent lung infections.
Kloots had kept supporters abreast of his progress via her Instagram account. Most recently, she had opened up to Gayle King on “CBS This Morning,” saying, "In a perfect world — because we are hoping for a perfect world — our ultimate, ultimate goal would be to get him to be a candidate for a double-lung transplant. We think that that is most likely the possibility, 99% chance that he would be needing that in order to live the kind of life that I know my husband would want to live. That is a long road away."
She had also just given an update on his health, saying, "He is doing okay. He's stable. Nick's body is extremely weak, muscles have atrophied so he can't move his body yet. He can still open his eyes. And when he is alert and awake, he'll answer commands by looking up or down, yes-or-no questions. When I'm asking him, he will even try to smile or move. The nurses have said that he answers my questions the best."
As far as what he understood toward the end, she said, “That is really hard to try to gauge, unfortunately. We have told him a blanket statement of kind of what has happened just because we don’t know what he understands just yet.” She confirmed she had told him that his leg had been amputated, adding, “I told him there are amazing prosthetics and I told him I have been talking to other amputees and to try to give him encouragement.”
Kloots was told more than once he wouldn’t survive, but the Broadway star continued to fight far longer than experts expected.
Kloots told King her vigil had taken a toll. "I came home the other day really feeling, you know, just kind of exhausted and sad,” she said. “And I let it out. I screamed and I cried in front of my parents. You have to have those days. You have to break down. That's only natural," she explained. "I am a strong person, but even strong people break, and that's okay. You have to break down so that you can build yourself up again."
She detailed her visits, reporting, "There are so many cords everywhere. I just want to jump in his bed and hug him and grab him and squeeze him, but you have to be very careful... so I grab his hand, and I'm waiting for the day that he holds my hand back."
Born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Cordero's big break was in the title role of the off-Broadway hit "The Toxic Avenger" (2009). He was Dennis in "Rock of Ages" (2012), both on Broadway and on tour. As Cheech in "Bullets Over Broadway," he won the Outer Critics Circle Award.
Cordero went on to appear in "Waitress" (2016) and "A Bronx Tale" (2016), the latter of which earned him a Drama Desk Award nomination.
Along with his appearances on the stage, Cordero had worked on TV on "Queer as Folk" (2005) and "Blue Bloods" (2017-2018), and in the films "Don Juan" (2011), "A Stand Up Guy" (2016), "Going in Style" (2017), "Inside Game" (2019), and his final film, "Mob Town" (2019).
He is survived by his wife and their infant son, Elvis.
After news broke of his death, Cordero's best friend Zach Braff opened up about their last text exchange. He shared 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."
Viola Davis tweeted, "RIP Nick Cordero! My condolences to you Amanda who fought and loved so hard....so sorry for his little one. My heart is with you. May flights of angels."
Sarah Michelle Gellar wrote on Instagram, "I’m not even sure what to say right now. Today @nickcordero1 lost his battle with covid. For everyone out there thinking this disease is harmless, it’s not. Nick leaves behind a beautiful wife @amandakloots and the most precious son, who just celebrated his first birthday without his father. Amanda, because of this horrible disease we can’t even hug you. But it’s important that you know, there is an army of people here, ready to support you in ANY and EVERY way possible. I wish you understood the inspiration that you have been to so many, and I hope that brings you even the smallest bit of comfort through all this. But none of this is fair."
Broadway actor Steve Kazee, who won a Tony for his work in "Once," wrote on Instagram, "I never had the honor of meeting Nick Cordero. By all accounts that was a huge loss for me. Every person that I know who encountered this human was changed for the better and everyone that I knew that knew him I’m sure felt lucky to do so. I, like so many others, have followed @amandakloots stories every day hoping for a miracle. Sadly, this morning, Nick lost his fight against COVID-19. My heart breaks because he leaves behind a young son and a wife who loved him with everything they had to give and I can relate. Listen to me friends. This virus does not discriminate. It doesn’t care about statistics. My heart is shattered tonight for this man and his family and I beg you all to take this seriously and protect yourself and others. Wear a mask. We can beat this. We just have to have a little compassion for our fellow humans and stop being so selfish. Rest In Peace Nick. I really hoped to meet you someday. Now I join the world in mourning you."
See more reactions below.
Devastating. What a loss, what a light. Whole heart with Amanda and his family tonight. https://t.co/T3xfcAtw0E— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel)
My heart is broken. I feel ill. Along with the entire Broadway community and the entire world, I mourn the loss of the incredible Nick Cordero and send my sincerest love and prayers to @amandakloots , Elvis & and entire family. RIP Nick. https://t.co/uBhjbrGfJE— Josh Gad (@joshgad) July 6, 2020
Incredibly sad news. Can we please do what we need to do as a country to fight this virus together? It doesn’t care how healthy you are. It doesn’t care if you want to go to Fire Island. It doesn’t care if you are tired of wearing a mask. Reign. It. In. https://t.co/sae9sLQYv1— Jesse Tyler Ferguson (@jessetyler) July 6, 2020
Horror. Love to the Cordero family. Please wear a mask. It has the power to prevent unspeakable suffering and sorrow. Rest In Peace Nick Cordero. https://t.co/GvGAuRaTGV— Bradley Whitford (@BradleyWhitford) July 6, 2020