Robert Downey Jr. shared a heartbreaking tribute to his longtime assistant, Jimmy Rich. The two worked together for almost two decades, beginning in 2003. Rich also worked as Downey's assistant on every Marvel movie he made, including Iron Man, The Avengers, Captain America: Civil War, and Avengers: Endgame. Rich died in a car accident on Wednesday night, Downey said.
"This is not news. This is a terrible and shocking tragedy," Downey wrote, alongside a trio of photos of Rich. "Jimmy Rich was in a fatal car accident at approx. 8 pm yesterday. He was a brother, my right-hand man, an uncle to our kids, and beloved by all who experienced his singular character and wit. 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." Downey, 56, also sent his condolences to Rich's "beautiful family, and the legacy of hope and redemption his life will continue to represent."
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Many of Downey's colleagues also shared their condolences in response to his post. "Wow. Brother. What a devastating loss," The Avengers star Jeremy Renner wrote. "Ohhhhh man. I am so sorry," Clark Gregg, who also starred in the Marvel movies with Downey, wrote. "No words. Just tears and gratitude for the gift that was him," Josh Brolin, who starred as Thanos in the last two Avengers movies, wrote.
"Such a tragedy. Such a good man. I have known him almost as long as I have known you, Robert," Mark Ruffalo, who stars as the Hulk, wrote. "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." Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt added, "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."
Rich's impact on actors who starred in the Marvel movies went beyond serving as Downy's assistant. Brolin shared a tribute to Rich on his own Instagram page. The actor called Rich his "buddy, my brother, my fellow sober warrior" who will "always swim in that place of mine, that purest place of love inside me." He was "forever grateful for the gift of your heart upon mine," Brolin wrote. "And I am forever grateful to RDJ for bringing not only your own gold, but his, into this elusive circus sphere that I call home," Brolin continued. "To your continued resting peace, my sweet brother."
Rest In Peace, Jimmy. You have been such a great friend to all of us at Marvel Studios for so many years. Your love and light were an inspiration to everyone that knew you. We will miss you. pic.twitter.com/O45mKJA1gj— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) May 6, 2021
Chris Evans, who played Captain America, noted how Rich and Downey were "inseparable" and shared a photo of himself with Rich. "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," Evans wrote.
"Rest In Peace, Jimmy. You have been such a great friend to all of us at Marvel Studios for so many years," Marvel Studios shared in its own statement on Twitter. "Your love and light were an inspiration to everyone that knew you. We will miss you."
Rich began working with Downey in 2003 on The Singing Detective. From then on, Rich worked with Downey on just about every movie the actor made. The last movie the two worked on together was Dolittle, which hit theaters last year.