Alexis Arquette, a transgender actress and member of a famous Hollywood family, died Sunday morning at the age of 47, according to her family. A cause of death was not immediately released.
Her siblings include actors Patricia, David, Rosanna and Richmond. In a statement, the Arquette family referred to Alexis as a “brilliant artist and painter,” as well as singer, entertainer and actor who became their “great teacher” as she transitioned into being a woman. “She became our sister, teaching us what real love is,” they said.
Alexis, known for roles in “Pulp Fiction,” a Boy George-inspired character in “The Wedding Singer” and “Bride of Chucky,” was outspoken about transgender rights. Born Robert Arquette, she chronicled her transition in the 2007 documentary “Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother.”
“Her career was cut short, not by her passing, but by her decision to live her truth and her life as a transgender woman,” the Arquette family said. “Despite the fact that there are few parts for trans actors, she refused to play roles that were demeaning or stereotypical. She was a vanguard in the fight for understanding and acceptance for all trans people.”
“She fiercely lived her reality in a world where it is dangerous to be a trans person — a world largely unready to accept differences among human beings, and where there is still the ugliness of violence and hostility towards people that we may not understand,” her family said.
Thank you all for your love and kind words about Alexis. My hero for eternity pic.twitter.com/Z18xLtYTBv
— David Arquette (@DavidArquette) September 11, 2016
Alexis Arquette had told her family in the days before her death that “she was already visiting the other side, and that where she was going, there was only one gender,” according to her family.
She died shortly after midnight, while surrounded by family members as they sang David Bowie’s “Starman,” Richmond Arquette wrote on Facebook.
Richmond Arquette called Alexis “a force” in his Facebook post, and referred to his sibling using male and female pronouns. (Earlier this year, David Arquette said that Alexis now referred to herself as “gender suspicious” rather than transgender.)
“As per his wishes, we cheered at the moment that he transitioned to another dimension,” Richmond Arquette wrote.
Patricia Arquette posted a tribute to Alexis on Twitter. “To my first best friend,” she wrote.
Breaking through the veil singing StarMan https://t.co/A3way5S3Lb
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) September 11, 2016
“Alexis always had to do everything first. She left before we were ready to let her go,” her family said. “We are all heartbroken that she is no longer with us, but we are grateful for the grace and kindness we were all shown during this difficult time. We are comforted by the fact that Alexis came into our family and was our brother and then our sister, and that she gave us so much love.”
Alexis was predeceased by her parents Lewis Arquette and Brenda Denaut, both of whom were actors.
Following news of her death, friends and celebrities took to social media to pay tribute:
R.I.P my sister Alexis Arquette. Another bright light gone out far too soon. Love to the family and all that loved Alexis.
— Boy George (@BoyGeorge) September 11, 2016
— Elvira (@TheRealElvira) September 11, 2016
Her family has requested that in lieu of flowers or gifts, donations be made in honor of Alexis Arquette “to organizations that support the LGBTQ community.”
[This post has been updated.]