How did Gaspard Ulliel die? 'Saint Laurent' star was without helmet during ski accident

Prominent French actor Gaspard Ulliel died at the age of 37 following injuries sustained the day before in a horrific Alps skiing accident

                            How did Gaspard Ulliel die? 'Saint Laurent' star was without helmet during ski accident
Gaspard Ulliel (Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images for the Cesar)

Prominent French actor Gaspard Ulliel died on Wednesday, January 19, at the age of 37 following injuries sustained the day before in a horrific skiing accident. He was flown to a hospital in Grenoble by helicopter after colliding with another skier at the intersection of two blue slopes in the Savoie ski resort of La Rosière at about 4 pm. According to the Associated Press, Ulliel was not wearing a helmet, and the other skier was unharmed in the collision and was not hospitalized. The actor had sustained head damage and was "motionless and unconscious" when rescuers arrived after the collision. 

Ulliel is best known in the fashion industry for his lengthy association with Chanel, where he is the face of the brand's men's fragrance Bleu de Chanel. Chanel stated in a statement, “It is with deep sadness that we learned of Gaspard Ulliel’s passing. For 12 years, he was an ambassador for Chanel, but more importantly, he was a close friend of the house. We have been fortunate to have had by our side all these years a person endowed with great culture, [he is] an immense talent and of unparalleled kindness. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers go to his family and his friends.”


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Ulliel's death is the second in the French Alps in less than a week. On January 15, a 5-year-old girl was killed in the Haute-Savoie region, located south of Savoie, according to Le Dauphiné Libéré newspaper.

Investigators are looking into the snow conditions at the resort. The mountain police service serving the site of the accident said "five or six rescues per day" have had to be conducted in the region over the past few weeks prior to the actor's death.

Ulliel is best known for his roles in films such as 'Hannibal Rising', Bertrand Bonello's 'Saint Laurent', and 'A Very Long Engagement', for which he won the César Award for Most Promising Actor in 2005. In 2017, he won his second César Award in the Best Actor category for his performance in Xavier Dolan's 'It's Only the End of the World'.

Ulliel noted in an interview that playing Saint Laurent was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He remarked, “I have rarely been offered such an emblematic, complex, and demanding role. I think I really managed to do my job once I realized that I should not imitate him because it cancels out all emotion and that it was by making him my own and somehow reinventing him that I would manage to convey emotion.”



Fans and celebrities have been paying tribute to Gaspard, sending thoughts to his family and loved ones. “Gaspard Ulliel grew up with cinema and cinema grew with him,” French Prime Minister Jean Castex tweeted, “They were madly in love with each other. We shall no longer witness his most exquisite renditions with a sorrowful heart. A French actor has died."

French politician Roselyne Bachelot wrote from her official tweeter account, "His sensitivity and the intensity of his acting made Gaspard Ulliel an exceptional actor. The cinema today is losing an immense talent. I send my condolences to his loved ones and my loving thoughts to all who mourn him today."

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