Christo Jivkov Dies: ‘The Passion Of The Christ’ Star Was 48

Actor-producer Christo Jivkov, known for his starring role as John in Mel Gibson’s 2004 blockbuster The Passion Of The Christ, died last night in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer. He was 48.

Jivkov was born Feb. 18, 1975 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Shortly after graduating from the Bulgarian Film & Theater Academy where he majored in film directing, he was cast as the lead, Giovanni de Medici, in Ermanno Olmi’s 2001 feature The Profession of Arms, which swept the 2002 David di Donatello Awards with nine wins, including Best Film. That led to a career in Italian cinema and television.

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Jivkov went on to play John opposite Jim Caviezel and Monica Bellucci in Gibson’s The Passion Of the Christ, which grossed $612M worldwide. He was expected to be involved in the long-rumored sequel if/when it came to fruition.

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