James Redford had been suffering bile-duct cancer in his liver for the last two years. He had been diagnosed with liver disease previously.
The natural order of things doesn't prepare us for the possibility of burying our child. However, illness, accident, or other causes can bring us face-to-face with a tough situation like that. If the child is going through an illness, it can give parents some time to prepare themselves and spend time with them. Even then, there's no way to ready our hearts for something this difficult.
Veteran actor, Robert Redford, 84, lost his lookalike son, James Redford, 58, to cancer. Father-of-two, James was a filmmaker and activist, who had been suffering from bile-duct cancer in his liver. His wife, Kyle, made the announcement on Twitter on October 16.
"Jamie died today. We’re heartbroken. He lived a beautiful, impactful life & was loved by many," she wrote. "He will be deeply missed. As his wife of 32 yrs, I’m most grateful for the two spectacular children we raised together. I don’t know what we would’ve done w/o them over the past 2yrs," she wrote.
Jamie died today. We’re heartbroken. He lived a beautiful, impactful life & was loved by many. He will be deeply missed. As his wife of 32 yrs, I’m most grateful for the two spectacular children we raised together. I don’t know what we would’ve done w/o them over the past 2yrs. pic.twitter.com/ynDN2jSZ04— kyle redford (@kyleredford) October 16, 2020
The Out of Africa actor, who has three more kids, released a statement about his son's passing. "The grief is immeasurable with the loss of a child. Jamie was a loving son, husband and father," the statement read. "His legacy lives on through his children, art, filmmaking, and devoted passion to conservation and the environment. Robert Redford is mourning with his family during this difficult time and asks for privacy," the statement read, according to Entertainment Weekly.
James' wife Kyle told The Salt Lake Tribune that the director had been suffering from bile-duct cancer in his liver. He had suffered from liver disease previously but it returned two years ago when he was awaiting a liver transplant. He had previously received two liver transplants from strangers and was inspired by his experience to make a documentary, The Kindness of Strangers.
The 58-year-old director knew that people expected him to fill his father's shoes. "I’ve grown up with a sense that there’s always a preconception," he told The Tribune in 2003. "Over time, I’ve just learned to shrug it off. … I just am who I am," he said.
However, his love for the craft of filmmaking was as deep as his father's. Together, they founded The Redford Center, a nonprofit that produces films and provides grant money to filmmakers to "accelerate environmental and climate justice, solutions, and repair."
The Redford Center's executive director Jill Tidman also shared a tribute to the late director. "With Jamie came love and contagious joy. He approached everything he did with kindness and warmth, and an openness that spread itself easily among others," the post read. "Jamie worked tirelessly to build a healthier world for us all, and particularly for those most in need of support. He always led with his enormous heart and was guided by his curiosity and creative spirit. He was a fierce protector of the natural world and believed that everyone deserved a healthy environment in which they could thrive and play."
He was nearing the completion of directing Where the Past Begins, a documentary for PBS’s American Masters series that captures the immigrant journey of author Amy Tan.
Multiple people expressed their sympathies with Kyle on Twitter. Lorry Leaver said, "I’m a friend of #RobertRedford who told us when Jamie was diagnosed with cancer. He was heartbroken then & I can only imagine how difficult this time is for you and your extended family. Please let me know if I can help at any time. God bless #JamieRedford and may he RIP."
your family's love and Jamie's joy has profoundly shaped my life and I am eternally grateful. Sending you the same HUGE hug, fun laugh and big smile he always shared with me. Much love to you, Dylan and Lena during this difficult time. I wish comfort knowing how many he inspired— Anne Zink (@annezinkmd) October 20, 2020
"Heartbroken to hear this news. I worked with Jamie on a project highlighting recidivism at San Quentin Prison many years ago. He was always up for a good cause. May you be comforted with nothing but loving memories of a good man who was lost much too soon," said producer Ross Schneiderman.