Calling the news of Rich’s demise “a terrible and shocking tragedy,” the actor, best known for playing the Marvel superhero Iron Man, paid moving tribute on Instagram. He even credited Rich as the man who helped him get clean (from drugs) and head down his road to recovery.
“He was a brother, my right-hand man, an uncle to our kids, and beloved by all who experienced his singular character and wit,” Downey wrote in the post.
“Our thoughts go to his relatives, friends, co-workers, and all the fans who knew him as the man who supported every step of my recovery, life, and career.”
According to reports, Rich played assistant to Downey for the past about two decades, right from his films dating back to ‘The Singing Detective’ in 2003. It was also one of the turning points in Downey’s career as he began his sobriety after a highly publicized battle with drug and alcohol addiction.
Rich wasn’t just a close friend to RDJ but was also considered as part of the Marvel family. The stars of the ‘Avengers‘ franchise including Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Brolin, Jeremy Renner, Gwyneth Paltrow and many others expressed their shock and offered their condolences to the actor and Rich’s family.
In his own Instagram tribute, Evans who played Captain America credited Rich as a “positive influence” in Downey’s life and encouraged fans to send the actor their love. “I don’t have the words. Jimmy Rich was unlike anyone else,” Evans wrote.
“He left an indelible impression on everyone he met. No one more so than my brother @robertdowneyjr. They were inseparable. I’m sending all my love to Jimmy’s friends and family. Be sure to hug your loved ones tightly and please take the time today to show Downey how many people love him and are here for him during this incredibly dark time.”
Pratt, known for playing Star Lord in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, wrote, “Oh no! I’m so sorry man. I’m praying for his family, you and yours. That sucks so bad. I’m so sorry to hear that. He was awesome. Such a tragedy.”
Hemsworth, best known for playing Thor, wrote, “So sorry mate. Absolutely Heartbreaking. Such a wonderful human. He’ll be missed.”
A heartbroken Ruffalo wrote, “Such a tragedy. Such a good man. I have known him almost as long as I have known you, Robert. Breaks my heart to have Jimmy go over to the other world. You will be missed, Jimmy. Thanks for always being real, always being there to lend a hand and showing the way of light forward to so many people. Another sad day.”
Brolin, who played Thanos, wrote, “No words. Just tears and gratitude for the gift that was him.”
“Wow. Brother. What a devastating loss” wrote Renner, who played the character Hawkeye in the Avengers franchise.
An emotional Paltrow, who played Downey’s on-screen love interest Pepper Pots, wrote, “Please no oh my god.”