It shouldn't have happened, but it did. It was meant to.
The man who played Superman in the late 70s and 80s was molded for the role. The tragedy in his own life molded the rest of life.
Christopher Reeve died October 10, 2004 from heart failure at age 52. He endured nearly ten years as a parapalegic, needing a man of steel to keep his own lungs inflated. That man of steel became the breathing machine that weened a crippled Reeve through life.
During the last nine years of his life, while in his own pain, he championed the need for more spinal cord research.
Reeve went into a coma on Saturday, October 9 after he went into cardiac arrest while he was in his New York home. He was under treatment for a pressure wound, a common ailment among parapalegics. The wound became infected and resulted in a systemic infection. He died Sunday.
Reeve played as Superman three times and performed his own stunts. The first Superman movie came out in 1978. He tried other roles, so not to be type cast as Superman. He performed as a crippled Vietnam veteran in the 1980 Broadway play "Fourth of July," a time traveler in the 1980 film "Somewhere in Time," and he was an playwright in the 1982 thriller "Deathtrap."
After he nearly died from a fall off a horse in May 1995 when he broke his neck, he went through months of therapy to help him breath through a respirator. The man of steel relied on a robot of steel to keep him alive.
When he was able to function more independently, yet tied to a wheelchair, he lobbied Congress to improve insurance protection against catastrophic injury and began directing films and some acting.
In 1998, he was in the updated Hitchcock version of "Rear Window," about a parapalegic convinced a neighbor was murdered. Reeve won a Screen Actors Guild award for best actor in a television movie or miniseries.
He made great health strides in 2000 when he was able to move his index finger and regained some body sensations. He founded the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.
Nearly 1,000 people are expected to attend a private memorial service held by his family on October 29 at Julliard School. Reeve studied drama there.
Reeve was born on September 25, 1952 in New York City and broke into entertainment at age ten. His first movie role was in "Gray Lady Down" released in 1978.
Before his death, Reeve was directing a computer-animated film, "Yankee Irving." The film will continue production. It is the story about a boy who overcomes personal obstacles to realize his dreams. The film will be in theaters in 2006.
Another film by Reeve, aired on A&E Network October 25. "The Brooke Ellison Story" stars Lacey Chabert. It is a story of a paralyzed woman who graduated from Harvard University.