Helen Mirren and husband Taylor Hackford are mourning the loss of his son, Rio Hackford, who died April 14 at age 51.
Last week, Alex Hackford told Variety that his brother died in Huntington Beach, California, from an illness.
On Tuesday, Helen, 76, and Taylor, 77, who have been married since 1997, made their first comments about Rio's death.
In a statement sent to TODAY, the director and actor said they “are both inspired by the life of our son and stepson, Rio Hackford, and heartbroken by his loss.”
“His life showed us how to live in generosity and community,” the couple said. “He shared his life’s journey with so many who now mourn him, and at the same time, celebrate their fortune in knowing him.”
The pair also confirmed that Rio “died of uveal melanoma, a very aggressive and rare form of cancer.”
Uveal–or intraocular—melanoma is a disease that causes malignant cells to form in the tissues of the eye, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Some signs of the illness include blurred vision and a dark spot on the iris.
“We would beg everyone reading this to get their eyes tested at least once a year, which might save their loved ones from this cancer,” Helen and Taylor said in the joint statement.
Helen also shared a picture of her stepson on her Instagram on Saturday.
She simply wrote, “El Rio” in the caption.
Rio, born Rio Del Valle Hackford, was a club owner and actor who appeared in “The Mandalorian,” “Swingers,” “The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story” and “Jonah Hex.”
Most recently, he played a manager in Hulu’s “Pam & Tommy.”
The actor owned bars The Matador, One-Eyed Jacks and Pals in New Orleans, The Monty and The Eldorado in Los Angeles, The Grasshopper in Long Beach, and The Homestead in San Francisco, Helen and Taylor's rep told TODAY.
Following news of Rio’s death, screenwriter D.V. DeVincentis, who worked with the late actor on “American Crime Story” posted a heartfelt tribute on Instagram.
Next to a black-and-white photo of Rio, DeVincentis wrote, “Rio was more attuned to experience than anyone I’ve ever known. He would stop what was happening to point it out, compel you to pay attention.”
DeVincentis continued to praise his friend in the comments. The screenwriter added, “His generosity was quiet and overwhelming. His honesty was the best kind — complete and never without caring, even the tough stuff.”
“Rio just knew things. Esoteric things. Off the map things. Secret things. Wonderful things. He knew these things because of his charm, wit, honesty, character & tough personality. He was a real man in a sea of Poseurs,” Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme said in a statement provided by Helen and Taylor’s rep.
Renée Zellweger added, “Rio…a titan of kindness, love, class, courage. And cool. A legend.”
“As loyal and funny as anyone could be. Rio was the best ever. Truly one of a kind,” said Vince Vaughn.
Rio is survived by his wife, composer Libby Grace, two children, brother, father and stepmother.