Nick Cordero, the Broadway actor who found a multitude of new worldwide fans who rallied behind him as he struggled with the coronavirus, died Sunday at age 41.
“God has another angel in heaven,” his wife Amanda Kloots confirmed on Instagram Sunday. “My darling husband passed away this morning.”
Kloots wrote that her husband “was surrounded in love by his family, singing and praying as he gently left this earth.”
“I am in disbelief and hurting everywhere. My heart is broken as I cannot imagine our lives without him,” Kloots, 38, wrote. “Nick was such a bright light.”
Zach Braff, who starred in Broadway’s “Bullets Over Broadway” with Cordero, wrote on Instagram that the actor died at 11:40 a.m. Sunday with Kloots and his mother at his side.
“I have honestly never known a kinder person,” Braff wrote. “But Covid doesn’t care about the purity of your soul, or the goodness in your heart.”
‘Devastating’: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Zach Braff react to Broadway star Nick Cordero’s coronavirus death
Cordero was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in late March for what was initially thought to be pneumonia. A first coronavirus test came up negative, though a subsequent test was positive for COVID-19.
Over the course of 13 weeks, Cordero faced a multitude of serious complications, including a leg amputation, infections in his lungs and the insertion of a temporary pacemaker.
The Canadian-born actor earned a Tony Award nomination in 2014 for his role in “Bullets Over Broadway” and also starred in productions of “Rock of Ages,” “Waitress” and “A Bronx Tale.”
Kloots regularly shared updates to her followers via social media on the ups and downs of her husband’s recovery. Fans and well-wishers gathered daily to dance to Cordero’s song “Live Your Life,” in hopes of buoying the actor as he lay in a coma, often with the hashtags #WakeUpNick, #OffTheVent or #CodeRocky.
Cordero had shown signs of improvement, but his numerous COVID-19 complications proved too much to overcome.
The Broadway star regained consciousness in early May after months of being comatose, but Kloots said her husband still couldn’t move or talk by mid-June, in part because of significant weight loss due to muscle atrophy.
“He can’t talk because of the ventilator. … But he’s awake and he’s in there,” Kloots said on June 18. “He’s so weak. He still can’t move and his muscles are definitely atrophying. He’s lost 65 pounds.”
On June 3, Kloots shared that she was working to keep a positive outlook after being told the chances of Cordero surviving were low.
“I’ve been told a couple times that he won’t make it. I’ve been told to say goodbye. I’ve been told it would take a miracle,” Kloots wrote in an Instagram post. “Well, I have faith. Faith that is small as a mustard seed sometimes, but that is all you need sometimes. He’s still here and despite his odds gets slightly, slightly better every day.”
From the time he was admitted to the hospital until June 19, Kloots was not able to visit her husband because of coronavirus restrictions. Instead, she checked in on him via FaceTime set up by his nurses.
On Day 79 of his hospitalization, she posted a photo of herself finally holding his hand in the ICU.
In late May, Kloots posted a throwback photo of the two walking toward the sun with words her husband had written to her on Valentine’s Day: “The future’s uncertain, the path is not always clear, but with you by my side I walk with no fear.”
Fans, including famous ones, rallied around Cordero’s story.
Sylvester Stallone sent a heartwarming message of encouragement to Cordero: “You have that eye of the tiger, you have that talent, you have that will. You have been dealt a horrible hand. Tough one. And it takes a strong, strong man and a strong family to override that situation.
“You’re a role model for other people that have to overcome incredible odds. All I can say is keep punching – you’re the man.”
Cordero’s friend Braff was vocal about emphasizing Cordero was healthy with “no pre-existing conditions” before contracting the novel coronavirus, urging his followers to take the pandemic seriously.
In an uplifting Instagram post on May 13, Braff also urged his followers to continue “rooting and praying for Nick” and celebrated Cordero’s “superhuman wife.”
Ted Brunetti, who appeared alongside Cordero in “A Bronx Tale,” teamed with his brother Joseph, a designer for Crocs, Tommy Hilfiger and more, to offer what they called the “world’s only virus protection kit,” which included hand sanitizer, masks, alcohol wipes and gloves. They donated a portion of the proceeds from each kit to Cordero, Kloots and their son, Elvis, who turned 1 in June, and to other coronavirus relief causes.
But the next weeks were filled with news of Cordero’s deteriorating condition. On June 30, day 90 of Cordero’s hospital stint, Kloots wrote, “I got mad at God. I’m praying and I have people all over the world praying. I said to my mom and dad, ‘Why can’t He throw us a bone. I’m sorry but I’m mad at him right now.’ I felt bad right after my outburst, but it needed to come out.”
“I will keep my faith and keep asking for miracles,” she wrote.
Cordero played a mob soldier with a flair for the dramatic in Broadway’s adaptation of the 1994 Woody Allen film “Bullets Over Broadway.” He moved to Los Angeles with his family to star in “Rock of Ages.”
Cordero originated the menacing role of husband Earl opposite his estranged wife, played by Jessie Mueller, in “Waitress” on Broadway, as well as the role of Sonny in Chazz Palminteri’s “A Bronx Tale.”
On the small screen, Cordero appeared in several episodes of “Blue Bloods” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” as well as “Lilyhammer,” and he had a role in the film “Going in Style.”
The virus has sickened other Broadway veterans, including actors Danny Burstein, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Gavin Creel, Aaron Tveit and Laura Bell Bundy, as well as composer David Bryan. It also claimed the life of Tony-winning playwright Terrence McNally.
Kloots ended her Instagram farewell to Cordero talking about “Live Your Life,” which she and friends performed for him one final time on Sunday.
“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 (let) 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.”
Contributing: Cydney Henderson, Rasha Ali, Bryan Alexander, Charles Trepany and Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY; Ilana Keller, Asbury Park Press