Jimmy Rich, longtime assistant to Robert Downey Jr., died at the age of 52 on Wednesday, after a fatal car crash. Downey Jr. posted the news to his Instagram, noting that “This is not news. This is a terrible and shocking tragedy.”
Rich and Downey Jr. began their friendship long before the MCU came around — Rich is credited as Downey’s assistant on every one of his films dating all the way back to “The Singing Detective” in 2003. That year marked the beginning of Downey’s road to sobriety after his much-publicized battles with drug and alcohol use. In the post, Downey hailed Rich as “the man who supported every step of my recovery, life and career.”
Fellow MCU stars Jeremy Renner, Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo and Chris Pratt passed on their condolences in the comments of Downey’s post. “No words. Just tears and gratitude for the gift that was him,” Brolin wrote.
“Such a tragedy. Such a good man. I have known him almost as long as I have known you, Robert,” Ruffalo added. “Breaks my heart to have Jimmy go over to the other world. You will be missed Jimmy. Thanks for always being real, always being there to lend a hand and showing the way of light forward to so many people. Another sad day.”
Chris Evans also paid tribute to Jimmy Rich on Instagram, calling him “unlike anyone else” and noting that Rich and Downey “were inseperable.”
“I’m sending all my love to Jimmy’s friends and family,” Evans wrote. “Be sure to hug your loved ones tightly and please take the time today to show Downey how many people love him and are here for him during this incredibly dark time.”