'Nanny McPhee' star Raphael Coleman's mother Liz Jensen: 'It's every parent's worst nightmare'

Albertina LloydEntertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
Yahoo Celebrity UK
Raphael Coleman at the premiere of <em>Nanny McPhee</em> in 2005. The actor and climate activist has died aged 25. (Getty Images)
Raphael Coleman at the premiere of Nanny McPhee in 2005. The actor and climate activist has died aged 25. (Getty Images)

Raphael Coleman’s mother has said the sudden death of the Nanny McPhee star aged just 25 is “every parent's worst nightmare".

The Extinction Rebellion activist and former child actor – who played Eric Brown in the film alongside Emma Thompson and Colin Firth – died of heart failure while jogging in South Africa.

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His mother, writer Liz Jensen, said in a statement to The Sun: "It's almost too much to bear. We are in despair but determined to honour his memory and ambitions. We are heartbroken but so proud of him and his work to protect our Heaven on Earth. He inspired so many people and was so loved.

Read more: Nanny McPhee actor Raphael Coleman dies at 25

"He was beautiful and wise and it's hard to imagine how life will continue. But it must and will – and he'd want that. We were so lucky to have him, he brought such joy.

"It's every parent's worst nightmare. It seems he died of heart failure – he was running and laughing when he collapsed. It was blessedly quick."

Coleman went by the name Iggy Fox and worked with the climate change awareness protest group Extinction Rebellion, handling its social media. He was training for a protest to stop animal poaching at the time of his death.

<em>Nanny McPhee</em> stars Jennifer Rae Daykin, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Holly Gibbs, Eliza Bennett, Sam Honywood and Raphael Coleman at the 2005 premiere. (Getty Images)
Nanny McPhee stars Jennifer Rae Daykin, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Holly Gibbs, Eliza Bennett, Sam Honywood and Raphael Coleman at the 2005 premiere. (Getty Images)

His stepfather Carsten Jesten wrote on Facebook: “He collapsed without prior health problems in the middle of a trip and could not be restored.”

He said: “There's nothing that makes you see death as unfair and meaningless as when a young person dies. It's life itself that's sabotaged.”

Extinction Rebellion said: “Our hearts are broken. We send our love & condolences to Iggy's mother, Liz. RIP Iggy, an inspiration for us all.”

Coleman was just 11 when he appeared in family film in 2005, and he and several other actors in the cast were singled out for recognition at the Young Artist Awards, whose past winners include Leonardo DiCaprio, Regina King and Mila Kunis.

He earned his only other acting credits in 2009, when he appeared in horror film It’s Alive, the Milla Jovovitch thriller The Fourth Kind and a comedy short, Edward’s Turmoil, for which he won an award for recognition as the Best Young Actor at the Brussels Short Film Festival.

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Coleman wrote in an undated essay that he had left a career in science to work with Extinction Rebellion.

“After seven years studying, researching and protecting nature as a wildlife conservationist, I stopped fieldwork and deferred an MSc in order to rebel full-time,” he wrote.

“Because no matter how many surveys I ran, how many turtle nests I protected, or how many young people I educated about ‘sustainability’, the seas kept rising, forests kept burning, plastic kept clogging the beaches, and our data kept showing that wildlife was being decimated.”

He added: “I’m rebelling in love for this world and the wild.”

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