Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist, who starred in the original “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” films alongside Noomi Rapace, died on Tuesday following a battle with lung cancer, his representative confirmed. He was 56.
“On behalf of Michael Nyqvist’s representatives and family, it is with deep sadness that I can confirm that our beloved Michael, one of Sweden’s most respected and accomplished actors, has passed away quietly surrounded by family after a year long battle with lung cancer,” said his rep in a statement. “Michael’s joy and passion were infectious to those who knew and loved him. His charm and charisma were undeniable, and his love for the arts was felt by all who had the pleasure of working with him.”
Though best known for his role in the Swedish “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy, Nyqvist also broke into American film. He played the villain alongside Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” and starred as Viggo Tarasov in “John Wick” with Keanu Reeves.
Nyqvist first garnered international attention as Mikael Blomkvist in “Millennium,” a six-part television series based on Stieg Larsson’s books following Lisbeth Salander. The series aired on Swedish television in six parts, and was expanded on three theatrically released films in 2009: “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.”
The Swedish series’ success helped spawn an American film adaptation, which was released in 2011. Daniel Craig took over Nyqvist’s role as Blomkvist, and Rooney Mara starred as Lisbeth Salander.
Nyqvist found his first big breakthrough in 2000 with Lukas Moodysson’s “Together.” The dramedy starred Nyqvist as a misguided husband with anger issues, and earned him his first Guldbagge Award nomination for best actor.
He also appeared in “Colonia” (2015), starring Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl, and in Donovan Marsh’s 2017 action-thriller “Hunter Killer” with Gerard Butler and Gary Oldman.
His additional Swedish film credits include “As It Is in Heaven” (2004), “Suddenly” (2006), “The Black Pimpernel” (2007), and “The Guy in the Grave Next Door” (2002), for which Nyqvist won a Guldbagge Award for best actor for his role as Benny the farmer. He also appeared in American films “Frank and Lola,” “Disconnect,” and “Europa Report.”
Nyqvist was an author as well, publishing autobiographical memoir “Just After Dreaming” (“När barnet lagt sig” in Swedish) in 2010. The novel was a compilation of memories from his childhood, and details his life from his adoption as a baby to tracking down his biological parents at age 30.
He is survived by his wife, Catharina, and their children, Ellen and Arthur.