James Doohan passed away today at age 85 from pneumonia and alzheimers.
From everything I've read and heard he was as beloved off-screen as he was on. It amazes me how the death of someone I've never met can hit me... I had the same feeling when DeForest Kelley (who I'm sure you know played Dr. McCoy in the original Star Trek series) died. Although you never physically meet some people, you can have them in your life for decades and come to feel as if you know them personally.
It's painful to watch as the people from the most significant TV phenomenon to me personally, which so helped shaped who I am, pass away one by one. The first one to go was Mark Lenard, who had a number of appearances in Star Trek as both a Vulcan and a Romulan. Not being a core character, his death almost served as a preparation for the passing of the primary characters. When DeForest Kelly died it hit me like a Mack truck, and here I sit feeling despondent with a tightness in my chest over Jimmy Doohan's death.
My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.
For more details on James' passing visit CNN.com.