The world of showbusiness was saddened in recent days to learn of the tragic death of noted Broadway performer Chris Peluso at the young age of 40, as the New York Post reports.
Renowned for his performances in Mamma Mia as well as Wicked, Peluso reportedly passed away suddenly on Aug. 15, something his family subsequently confirmed to Playbill.
In addition to the aforementioned roles, Peluso also garnered credits for appearances in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Lestat, Assassins, and The Glorious Ones on Broadway, as well as in Funny Girl, Show Boat, The Woman in White and Miss Saigon in London.
Mental health struggles emerge
Though no official cause of death has been made public, it was just last year that the performer announced his personal battle with schizoaffective disorder, a condition known to produce delusions, hallucination, depression, and/or mania.
A GoFundMe campaign launched on behalf of Peluso, his wife, and young children last fall noted that the affliction had “resulted in Chris experiencing debilitating paranoia,” preventing him from taking on significant stage work for quite some time.”
Upwards of $25,000 was raised to help Peluso defray the costs of treatment for his condition, and the actor subsequently posted an update indicating that professional intervention had helped him make real progress.
He wrote at the time, “The new medication I'm on works well to keep my symptoms in check and has minimal side effects.”
“I'm able to hold down a job again and even began taping some auditions. It's going to be a life long process of going to therapy and working with doctors but I'm so much better than I was before treatment,” he added.
Tributes pour in
News of Peluso's death has rocked the theater world, with words of praise and respect coming in from all corners in recent days.
An official at the University of Michigan, the thespian's alma mater, took to Instagram to honor the late performer, writing, “The Michigan Musical Theater family is heartbroken as we announce the passing of our dear family member/alum, the loving, charismatic, and divinely gifted Chris Peluso.”
Linda Goodrich, interim chair of U-M's musical theater program, added the school's condolences to the family the young actor leaves behind.
Peluso is survived by his wife, Jessica Gomes, as well as two children, Aria and Caio, not to mention the legions of fans who basked in his magnetic presence during a career cut tragically short.