Former Disney star Michael Mantenuto takes his own life aged 35

Priya Joshi
Former Disney star Michael Mantenuto takes his own life aged 35

Former Disney star Michael Mantenuto has committed suicide at the age of 35.

The father-of-two was found dead in his car in Des Moines, Washington on Monday (24 April) with a shotgun wound to his head. A coroner confirmed that he took his own life.

He was best known for his performance in the 2004 Disney movie Miracle, co-starring Kurt Russell.

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Mantenuto, who was a skilled ice hockey player and coach, portrayed Chicago Blackhawks and New Jersey Devils player Jack O'Callahan in the film, which tells the true story of the US men's Olympic hockey team that won the gold medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics.

He also starred in the 2006 TV movie Dirt Bags with Melissa Joan Hart and Laura Bell Bundy. He played "a soul-searching surfer experiencing an existential crisis" in the 2008 film Surfer Dude with Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson.

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From movies to military

Quitting movies, he enlisted in the US military and signed up to join the Special Forces. Colonel Guillaume Beaurpere, commander of Mantenuto's army unit, announced his death.

"Those of you that knew Mike will remember him for his passionate love for his family and his commitment to the health of the force," he said.

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Tributes poured in from friends of the former Hollywood star. The real-life O'Callahan paid tribute to the actor who once portrayed him, saying: "Very sad, way too young. Condolences and love to Katie and the family."

He is survived by wife Kati, daughter Ava, and son Leo, reports Mail Online.

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