Doctor Who fans around the world are currently in shock by today's news of the sudden passing of Elisabeth Sladen.
Sladen was most known—and absolutely beloved—for her portrayal of journalist Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who, a role that she made popular in the 1970s and reprised once again in 2006 alongside the revival of the series. This eventually led to her starring in the character's own program, The Sarah Jane Adventures, which recently concluded its fourth season in the fall of 2010.
According to preliminary reports from Doctor Who Magazine, as well as from Who alumni Nicola Bryant and Paul Cornell, the 63-year-old Sladen died of complications involving cancer. [Update: The BBC has released a statement regarding Sladen's passing.]
In the past several years Elisabeth Sladen has been a vibrant reminder that being youthful and full of wonder towards the universe has nothing to do with chronological age. As Sarah Jane Smith, Sladen provided a role model in potraying her as a resourceful, independent, morally-centered hero. Her character's tenure on Doctor Who rivals that of any other actor, having shared the screen with fully eight out of the eleven current Doctors.
Current showrunner Steven Moffat had this to say of Sladen:
“Never meet your heroes” wise people say. They weren't thinking of Lis Sladen.
We are all very lucky to have experienced the beauty of Elisabeth Sladen and know her memory will live on in all of time and space.
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