Sad news has rocked international cinema today with the passing of actor Michael Nyqvist, who succumbed to lung cancer today at the age of 56.

Nyqvist is best known for his role of Millennium editor Mikael Blomkvist in the original film adaptation of Steig Larsson‘s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its two sequels as well as playing the primary villain of the first John Wick film opposite Keanu Reeves.

Born in Stockholm on November 8, 1960 to a Swedish father and Italian mother, Nyqvist was adopted as a baby from an orphanage. While attending high school, he spent a year as an exchange student in Omaha, Nebraska. It was there where he found his niche for acting, appearing in school plays and at the age of 24, attended the Malmo Theater Academy.

Starting out as a supporting actor in films, he got his breakthrough in 2000 when he appeared as the estranged husband of Lisa Lindgren’s character in Lukas Moodysson‘s dramedy Together. While appearing in more films as a lead and supporting actor, 2009 would be the year Nyqvist hit international stardom.

He would play the embittered Millennium editor Mikael Blomkvist opposite Noomi Rapace‘s tough-as-nails hacker Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a film adaptation of the Stieg Larsson hit novel. Both Nyqvist and Rapace would return for the back-to-back follow-ups The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest released in Sweden that same year.

In 2011, Nyqvist made his Hollywood debut as the lead villain in Taylor Lautner‘s post-Twilight action film debut Abduction and played the villain in Tom Cruise‘s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. However, in 2014, he would get the villain role that he would be best known for, that of Russian mobster Viggo Tarasov, whose mischievous son makes the fatal mistake of stealing a car and killing a dog in John Wick, which enrages the titular character played by Keanu Reeves.

Nyqvist is survived by wife Catharina and children Ellen and Arthur. World Film Geek sends its condolences to the family of Michael Nyqvist.

As a final tribute, here is Nyqvist talking about his role and experiences on John Wick

Rest in Peace, Michael Nyqvist.