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Kenneth Mitchell, 'Star Trek: Discovery' actor, dies after battle with ALS

Kenneth Mitchell, an actor who appeared in shows like "Star Trek: Discovery" and "Jericho," has died following a battle with ALS. He was 49.

Mitchell's death was confirmed on Sunday in a statement shared to his verified Instagram page. "With heavy hearts we announce the passing of Kenneth Alexander Mitchell, beloved father, husband, brother, uncle, son and dear friend," the post said.

Actor Kenneth Mitchell arrives for the 2015 Golden Maple Awards in Los Angeles on July 1, 2015.
Actor Kenneth Mitchell arrives for the 2015 Golden Maple Awards in Los Angeles on July 1, 2015.

Mitchell portrayed multiple characters in various episodes of "Star Trek: Discovery," including a Klingon named Kol, and voiced characters on the animated series "Star Trek: Lower Decks." He also starred as Eric Green on CBS' "Jericho," and in the 2019 Marvel film "Captain Marvel," he played Joseph Danvers, father of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), in a flashback scene.

In 2020, Mitchell revealed he had been diagnosed with ALS two years earlier. In an interview with People at the time, he said he had been using a wheelchair since 2019 and was diagnosed in 2018 after he began experiencing twitching in his muscles.

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"The moment that they told us it was (ALS), it was like I was in my own movie," Mitchell said. "That's what it felt like, like I was watching that scene where someone is being told that they have a terminal illness. It was just a complete disbelief, a shock."

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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS, is a nervous system disease that "affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord" and causes loss of muscle control, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Kenneth Mitchell attends an event at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on June 8, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Kenneth Mitchell attends an event at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on June 8, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

One of the "Star Trek" characters Mitchell played was Aurellio, who used a hovercraft chair. In an Instagram post in 2021, the actor said he was "incredibly grateful for the inclusion." He described this role as "a reminder that despite one's disabilities there is always room for possibility & ability."

In 2022, he also appeared in the FX series "The Old Man" as a character created for him.

Mitchell is survived by his wife, Susan, and their two children. He previously told People that after his diagnosis, his focus became spending as much time with his family as possible, including giving up a television lead role that would require him to move.

"For five and a half years Ken faced a series of awful challenges from ALS," the statement shared on his social media said. "And in truest Ken fashion, he managed to rise above each one with grace and commitment to living a full and joyous life in each moment. He lived by the principles that each day is a gift and that we never walk alone."

The statement concluded: "His life is a shining example of how full one can be when you live with love, compassion, humour, inclusion, and community."

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kenneth Mitchell dead: 'Star Trek: Discovery' actor dies of ALS