Raphael Coleman, a former child actor best known for his work in Nanny McPhee, died suddenly on Thursday, February 6, Pop Culture reports. His stepfather, Carsten Jensen, announced Coleman’s death on Facebook, explaining that he had died after collapsing while jogging.
Jensen announced his stepson’s passing on Saturday, and according to his statement, Coleman had no prior known health problems.
“I will never forget you, we say in a farewell greeting to the dead. But when it’s your own child, it’s your genes, your whole body, something greater than the word I who forever refuse to accept the judgment of death. Raph wasn’t my child, even though I was close to him. But I can feel it myself. I see it in his mother’s eyes, and I hear it in her voice, the irreversible loss of the most precious thing in life,” Jensen wrote in Danish.
Coleman made his debut in 2005’s Nanny McPhee as Eric Brown alongside Emma Thompson and acted sporadically in films thereafter. In 2009, he starred in Edward’s Turmoil, It’s Alice and The Fourth Kind. A year later, he won acting awards at the Brussels Short Film Festival and the British Independent Film Festival.
More recently, Coleman’s focus had shifted to climate activism. According to Jensen’s statement, he was arrested for painting the Brazilian embassy red during the Amazon forest fires, adding that his stepson was smiling as they took him away. Jensen explained that this was because he knew he was doing what was right and was comfortable in that knowledge.
According to reporting in the Daily Mirror, Coleman’s mother, Liz, also shared the news on Twitter. In her post, she paid tribute to his life by explaining how he had transformed into a new kind of life force. She said he didn’t believe in heaven, because he knew heaven was here on earth.
She also said that while she felt she couldn’t carry on without her son, she knew that her son would not want her to feel that way. Although his physical life may be over, she said, he’s now become a part of all living things, connected to the planet in a way that he wasn’t before.
Both Coleman’s mother and stepfather wrote tributes to the ideals Coleman aspired towards. Their statements found meaning in his death and underlined their belief that the work he dedicated his short life to was vitally important to the future of his generation.