Leonard Nimoy, Who Played Spock on Star Trek, Dies at 83

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Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played Spock on Star Trek, died Friday. He was 83 and had lung disease, and his family confirmed his death.

Nimoy was most famous for his role as the Vulcan Spock on the Star Trek TV show in 1966. He would also later appear in J.J Abrams’ Star Trek reboot movies.

“He was an extraordinary man, husband, grandfather, brother, actor, author—the list goes on—and friend,” his granddaughter Dani said in a statement.

“I loved him like a brother,” William Shatner, who starred in Star Trek alongside Nimoy as Captain Kirk, said in a statement. “We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love.”

See Leonard Nimoy's Long and Prosperous Life in Photos

Leonard Nimoy in The Outer Limits in 1964.ABC/Getty Images
Leonard Nimoy
Leonard Nimoy with wife Sandra Zober attend an event in Los Angeles,Calif. in 1966.Michael Ochs Archives—Getty Images
Leonard Nimoy
Leonard Nimoy, circa 1968.Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Star Trek
Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock and William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk in season 3 of Star Trek in 1968.CBS/Getty Images
Mission: Impossible
Leonard Nimoy as Paris and Lee Meriwether as Tracey in Mission Impossible in 1969.CBS/Getty Images
Leonard Nimoy in Catlow, 1971.Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
THE ALPHA CAPER, (from left): Henry Fonda, Leonard Nimoy, 1973.
Leonard Nimoy in The Alpha Caper in 1973Everett
NASA's space shuttle Enterprise rolled out of the Palmdale manufacturing facilities and was greeted by NASA officials and cast members from Star Trek in 1976. From left: NASA Administrator Dr. James D. Fletcher; DeForest Kelley, who portrayed Dr. "Bones" McCoy on the series; George Takei (Mr. Sulu); James Doohan (Chief Engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott); Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura); Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock); series creator Gene Roddenberry; an unnamed NASA official; and, Walter Koenig (Ensign Pavel Chekov).NASA
THE UNEXPLAINED, (from left): host Leonard Nimoy, Travis Walter (who claims to have spent 5 days abo
Leonard Nimoy hosts The Unexplained in 1976.Everett
STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK, Leonard Nimoy, 1984, (c)Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection
Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock in 1984.Paramount/Everett
The Big Bang Theory
Leonard Nimoy guest stars in The Big Bang Theory.CBS/Getty Images
Leonard Nimoy guest stars on FringeFox
5th Annual TV Land Awards - Show
Leonard Nimoy and Luke Wilson, presenters during 5th Annual TV Land Awards - Show at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. in 2007.Chris Polk—FilmMagic/Getty Images
Leonard Nimoy guest stars as Mr. Spock in Star Trek in 2009.Paramount

Nimoy announced he had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, on Twitter a little over a year ago. He urged fans to quit smoking immediately, so they wouldn’t get sick as well. He signed all his tweets with “LLAP,” an abbreviation of “live long and prosper,” his signature Star Trek line.

But Star Trek wasn’t Nimoy’s only claim to fame. He was also a prolific poet and photographer, and performed onstage as Tevye in ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ and directed numerous movies including the 1987 comedy Three Men and a Baby. He was also nominated for an Emmy for his role as Golda Meir’s husband in the 1982 movie A Woman Called Golda.

“He was a true force of strength and his character was that of a champion,” Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura on Star Trek, said in a statement. “Leonard’s integrity and passion as an actor and devotion to his craft helped transport Star Trek into television history. His vision and heart are bigger than the universe.”

Nimoy once said in an interview that the famous split-finger Vulcan salute was his idea, inspired by gestures made during Jewish religious ceremonies (he was an observant Jew.)

“He affected the lives of many,” his son Adam Nimoy told the Associated Press. “He was also a great guy and my best friend.”

MORE: How Leonard Nimoy Almost Wasn’t Spock

Over the course of his life, he wrote two autobiographies, “I Am Not Spock” (1975) and “I Am Spock” (1995.)

“In Spock, I finally found the best of both worlds: to be widely accepted in public approval and yet be able to continue to play the insulated alien through the Vulcan character,” he once wrote of playing the role.

See the Cast of Star Trek Then and Now

From left: Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto as Mr. SpockCBS/Getty Images; Paramount
From left: William Shatner and Chris Pine as James T. KirkSilver Screen Collection/Getty Images; Paramount
From left: DeForest Kelley and Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoyCBS/Getty Images; Paramount
From left: James Doohan and Simon Pegg as ScottyCBS/Getty Images; Paramount
From left: Nichelle Nichols and Zoe Saldana as Nyota UhuraCBS/Getty Images; Paramount
From left: George Takei and John Cho as Hikaru SuluCBS/Getty Images; Paramount
From left: Walter Koenig and Anton Telchin as Pavel ChekovCBS/Getty Images; Paramount

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Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com