Helen Mirren shares plea for more eye tests after revealing stepson died of rare cancer

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Helen Mirren urges people to have more eye tests  (Matt Crossick/PA) (PA Wire)
Helen Mirren urges people to have more eye tests (Matt Crossick/PA) (PA Wire)

Helen Mirren has released a plea for more eye tests after revealing that her stepson, Rio Hackford, had died from a rare form of cancer.

The 76-year-old actress and her husband, director Taylor Hackford, shared a joint statement that confirmed that he had died after suffering from uveal melanoma.

Following news of his death days ago, Mirren and her husband have called on readers to undertake more eye tests as it might save their loved ones from this form of cancer.

Uveal melanoma is a form of eye cancer that develops in the cell tissue in a person’s eyeball. According to the NHS, there is no known cause and tumours may be found during routine eye tests.

 (Helen Mirren / Instagram)
(Helen Mirren / Instagram)

“Rio died of uveal melanoma, a very aggressive and rare form of cancer,” the couple’s statement to People read.

They continued: “We would beg everyone reading this to get their eyes tested at least once a year, which might save their loved ones from this cancer.”

Elsewhere in their message, Mirren and her husband also reflected on Hackford’s life and legacy, adding: “His life showed us how to live in generosity and community.”

Helen and her husband Taylor released a joint statement following Rio’s death (REUTERS)
Helen and her husband Taylor released a joint statement following Rio’s death (REUTERS)

“He shared his life’s journey with so many who now mourn him, and at the same time, celebrate their fortune in knowing him.”

Hackford’s cause of death was revealed days after his family confirmed that he had died in California on April 14 after suffering from a short illness. Hackford was 51 years old.

Prior to his death, Mirren’s stepson had appeared in several small roles in television productions and films such as The Mandalorian and American Crime Story. He was also a club owner and had several venues across the US.

Earlier this week, Mirren also took to social media and paid tribute to her late stepson by sharing a photograph on Instagram. Alongside the smiling picture, she simply added: “El Rio.” Tributes have since poured in as friends reflected upon his life.

Rio is known for starring in Treme, David Simon’s HBO show in which he played Toby, an old friend of Steve Zahn’s character David McAlary. He also starred in American Crime Story: The People v OJ Simpson as investigator Pat McKenna and recently appeared in Pam & Tommy alongside Lily James and Sebastian Stan.

Rio is survived by his wife and two children.

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