UPDATED: Transgender actress Alexis Arquette died Sunday morning, her brother Richmond Arquette revealed in a Facebook post. She was 47.
“Our brother Robert, who became our brother Alexis, who became our sister Alexis, who became our brother Alexis, passed this morning September 11, at 12:32 am,” Richmond wrote. “He was surrounded by all of his brothers and sisters, one of his nieces and several other loved ones. We were playing music for him and he passed during David Bowie’s Starman. As per his wishes, we cheered at the moment that he transitioned to another dimension.”
A cause of death has not been yet released. Later on Sunday, Alexis’ siblings Rosanna, Richmond, Patricia and David Arquette issued a statement about the news, calling her a “brilliant artist and painter, a singer, an entertainer and an actor.”
“Her career was cut short, not by her passing, but by her decision to live her truth and her life as a transgender woman,” the statement says. “Despite the fact that there are few parts for trans actors, she refused to play roles that were demeaning or stereotypical. She was a vanguard in the fight for understanding and acceptance for all trans people. She fiercely lived her reality in a world where it is dangerous to be a trans person — a world largely unready to accept differences among human beings, and where there is still the ugliness of violence and hostility towards people that we may not understand.”
“Alexis was born as Robert, our brother,” the statement goes on. “We loved him the moment he arrived. But he came in as more than a sibling — he came as our great teacher. As Alexis transitioned into being a woman, she taught us tolerance and acceptance. As she moved through her process, she became our sister, teaching us what real love is. We learned what real bravery is through watching her journey of living as a trans woman. We came to discover the one truth — that love is everything. In the days leading to her death, she told us she was already visiting the other side, and that where she was going, there was only one gender. That on the other side, we are free from all of the things that separate us in this life, and that we are all one.”
Patricia also paid tribute to Alexis by tweeting David Bowie’s “Starman” and T. Rex’s “Cosmic Dancer.”
“Breaking through the veil singing Starman,” Patricia captioned one tweet. “To My first best friend – Cosmic Dancer,” she wrote with the other.
“I am feeling immense gratitude to have been afforded the luxury of sharing life with him/her, for learning from Alexis, for being given the gift of being able to love him/her and to be loved by him/her. He was a force,” Richmond added in the Facebook post. “He died as he lived, on his own terms. I am immensely grateful that it was fast and painless. It was an incredibly moving experience and I am humbled and grateful to have been able to have been with him as he began his journey onward. Thank you, Alexis, I love you and will love you always.”
Born Robert Arquette, Alexis started acting at a young age and nabbed a variety of roles over her career. She played a Boy George-inspired character in “The Wedding Singer,” and also appeared in “Of Men and Mice,” “Bride of Chucky,” “The Surreal Life,” “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” and most recently in 2014’s “Blended” alongside Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.
Alexis came from a long line of actors. Her grandfather Cliff Arquette and father Lewis Arquette were prominent character actors.
Alexis’ transition into a woman was documented in 2007’s “Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother.”
Boy George also paid tribute to the late actress on Sunday, writing on Twitter, “R.I.P my sister Alexis Arquette. Another bright light gone out far too soon. Love to the family and all that loved Alexis.”
The family asks that in lieu of flowers or gifts, donations be sent to organizations that support the LGBTQ community in honor of Alexis Arquette.