After a months-long, grueling public battle with COVID-19, Broadway actor Nick Cordero died Sunday at the age of 41. His wife, fellow theater performer Amanda Kloots, shared a tribute on Instagram, noting that Cordero passed “surrounded in love by his family, singing and praying as he gently left this earth.”
“I am in disbelief and hurting everywhere,” Kloots continued. “My heart is broken as I cannot imagine our lives without him. Nick was such a bright light. He was everyone’s friend, loved to listen, help and especially talk. He was an incredible actor and musician. He loved his family and loved being a father and husband.”
Kloots thanked Cordero’s “extraordinary doctor,” David Ng, as well as fans for their support. “You have no idea how much you lifted my spirits at 3pm everyday as the world sang Nicks song, Live Your Life,” she wrote. “We sang it to him today, holding his hands. As I sang the last line to him, ‘they’ll give you hell but don’t you let them kill your light not without a fight. Live your life,’ I smiled because he definitely put up a fight. I will love you forever and always my sweet man.”
Following Kloots’ announcement of Cordero’s death, tributes have poured in from all corners of the Broadway world, from performers and writers including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Josh Gad, Ben Platt, and several of Cordero’s former co-stars, all of whom mourned the tremendous loss.
In a statement posted to Instagram, Cordero’s longtime friend Zach Braff wrote, “I have honestly never known a kinder person. But Covid doesn’t care about the purity of your soul, or the goodness in your heart. The last thing he ever texted me was to look out for his wife and one year old son, Elvis. I promise the world they will never want for anything. I feel so incredibly grateful I got to have Nick Cordero enter my life. Rest In Peace. Rest in Power.”
Cordero’s fellow Waitress castmates shared their condolences as well.
“He was light,” wrote Sara Bareilles, who wrote the production’s music and lyrics. “Kind and gentle. Talented and humble. Funny and friendly. The best laugh. Sending so much love to the love warrior [Amanda Kloots] and little Elvis, and an immense hug to any one who is feeling the loss of this giant heart. Rest In Peace dear Nick. We love you.”
Kimiko Glenn, who originated the role of Dawn in the musical, wrote on Instagram, “I am so lucky to have known you. I remember how much your spontaneous energy made me laugh, how the day Prince died you came into our dressing room in silence and I felt your big beautiful heart breaking. Now my heart breaks for you and your family.”
“Nick passed this morning after a long fight with coronavirus,” Glenn continued. “He was 41, and had no pre-existing conditions. He was young, strong and healthy. As the world gets tired of mask-wearing and social distancing measures, I urge you to remember his story. He spent a month and a half in a coma, lost his leg due to clotting, and was too weak to talk for 95 days. He was the last person I would expect to suffer in such a way. He was a gentle giant and an absolute legend.”
Jenna Ushkowitz, who played Dawn in the show’s 2016 production, wrote that she was “Devastated,” and followed up with a longer meditation on COVID-19 and mask usage.
“I just doesn't understand why we are still having to yell at others to wear a goddamn mask,” she wrote. “We are mourning a friend and a light in this world who shouldn't be lost to this virus and didn't deserve this. What can you do? WEAR A MASK. HAVE SOME RESPECT FOR OTHERS AND YOURSELF.”
Cordero’s A Bronx Tale: The Musical castmate Ariana DeBose added, “One of the great ones gone far too soon... simply the best. I’m devastated for @amandakloots, his family... for all who loved him.” At the end of her tribute, she included the hashtag #WearADamnMask.
Like Ushkowitz, Lin-Manuel Miranda called Cordero’s passing “devastating.” “What a loss, what a light,” he wrote. “Whole heart with Amanda and his family tonight.”
Josh Gad, who starred in The Book of Mormon, wrote, “My heart is broken. I feel ill. Along with the entire Broadway community and the entire world, I mourn the loss of the incredible Nick Cordero and send my sincerest love and prayers to @amandakloots , Elvis & and entire family. RIP Nick.”
Matt Doyle, who co-starred with Cordero in Brookylnite, added, “Words can’t express the heartbreak clearly enough. He was one of the best. Everyone who knew him felt this way. This is such a profound loss. Rest In Peace, friend. We will miss you terribly.”
Wrote Broadway vet James Iglehart, “I will miss you. You were a wonderful man. A wonderful husband. The happiest dad I knew. A good friend to me. My love & prayers go out to your family.”
Viola Davis tweeted, “RIP Nick Cordero! My condolences to you Amanda who fought and loved so hard....so sorry for his little one. My heart is with you. May flights of angels.....”
And in both their tributes, TV and Broadway actors Ben Platt and Jesse Tyler Ferguson also pleaded with people to wear masks.
“Incredibly sad news,” Ferguson wrote. “Can we please do what we need to do as a country to fight this virus together? It doesn’t care how healthy you are. It doesn’t care if you want to go to Fire Island. It doesn’t care if you are tired of wearing a mask. Reign. It. In.”
“Nick was a one of a kind talent and person,” Platt added. “I am sending as much love as humanely possible to his family. Wear a f*cking mask.”