Spock returns to stars; Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ dies at 83

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Los Angeles: Leonard Nimoy, who won fame and fans with his portrayal of logic-bound, half-alien Mr. Spock in the “Star Trek” TV series and movies, died on Friday. He was 83.

His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Mr. Nimoy announced that he had the disease last year, attributing it to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week.

“We return you now to the stars, Leonard,” fellow “Star Trek” cast member George Takei wrote on Facebook.

“You taught us to ‘Live long and prosper,’ and you indeed did, friend,” said Takei, recalling the trademark phrase uttered by Nimoy’s character.

Nimoy had long struggled with a love-hate relationship with the role of Spock – the half-human, half-Vulcan first officer on the starship Enterprise – but came to accept its part in his life.

Last year, he disclosed on Twitter that he had been diagnosed with COPD, a progressive lung disease.

“I quit smoking 30 years ago. Not soon enough,” he tweeted to his 810,000 followers. “Grandpa says, quit now!!”

Spock-Leonard-NimoyNimoy had other roles during a lengthy career in TV, film and theater. He directed successful movies, wrote books, composed poetry, published photographs and recorded music. But he will be forever linked to Spock in the original 1960s “Star Trek” TV series and subsequent movies.

Known for suppressing his emotions and using logic to guide his actions, the pointy-eared Spock – whose father was from Vulcan and whose mother was from Earth – became one of science fiction’s best-known, most beloved characters.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who has been compared to Spock for his prominent ears and coolheaded demeanor, called Nimoy and his character “the center of ‘Star Trek’s’ optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity’s future.”

“I loved Spock,” the president said in a statement.

For years, Nimoy resented that Spock defined him, but ultimately came to accept that his life would be intertwined with the character, who inspired a fervent fan following.

His feelings were summed up in the titles of his memoirs: “I Am Not Spock” in 1975 and “I Am Spock” two decades later.

“I was involved in something of a crusade to develop a reputation as an actor with some range,” Nimoy wrote in “I Am Not Spock.”

“I went through a definite identity crisis. The question was whether to embrace Mr. Spock or to fight the onslaught of public interest. I realize now that I really had no choice in the matter. Spock and ‘Star Trek’ were very much alive and there wasn’t anything that I could do to change that.”

Still, he wrote that if given the choice of being any other TV character, he would choose Spock.

Nimoy had often confronted the original series’ creators over their conception of Spock, and his input was responsible for many aspects of the character.

He came up with the “Vulcan nerve grip” that rendered foes unconscious, and the split-fingered Vulcan “live long and prosper” salute. (He said the gesture was inspired by one he had seen worshippers make in his synagogue when he was a boy.)

Nimoy signed off his tweets with “LLAP,” an abbreviation of “live long and prosper.”

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