R. Lee Ermey, Drill Instructor in “Full Metal Jacket,” Passes Away at 74

Actor Ronald Lee Ermey, who is best known for playing the drill instructor in the 1987 war film “Full Metal Jacket,” has passed away, according to his manager.

Ermey passed away on Sunday morning as a result of complications from pneumonia, his manager Bill Rogin said in a brief statement on Sunday night, April 15. He was 74 years old.

“He will be greatly missed by all of us,” Rogin said in the statement, reported USA Today.

“It is a terrible loss that nobody was prepared for. He has meant so much to so many people. And it is extremely difficult to truly quantify all of the great things this man has selflessly done for, and on behalf of, our many men and women in uniform.”

Ermey was born in 1944 and served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1961-1972 and was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, for a year, and Vietnam for 14 months, according to Variety. He then left the Marine Corps to become a staff sergeant and later received an honorary promotion to gunnery sergeant from then-Commandant Gen. James Jones in 2002, according to Marine Times.

The actor has played many iconic roles in film and was known for playing military and law-enforcement figures such as the voice of Sarge, the leader of the little green army men in the Toy Story movies; Sheriff Hoyt in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake (2003); and a police captain in Se7en (1995), reported USA Today.

He is most famous for his role as the drill instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket where he received a Golden Globe nomination for his outstanding performance as a hard and principled man.

However, Rogin said the real R. Lee Ermey was a “family man, and a kind and gentle soul.”

“He was generous to everyone around him. And, he especially cared deeply for others in need,” he added.

Ermey then went on to appear on-screen and offscreen in over 60 films and television shows and hosted a number of television programs such as “Military Makeover.”

Many friends and fans online have expressed their grief over the actor’s death.

Donald J. Trump Jr. said on Instagram he was proud to have Ermey as a friend and called him “a legend and great American.”

Rogin asked fans to support “men and women in uniform” as he said that was the actor’s wish.

“And, we will honor his memory with hope and kindness. Please support your men and women in uniform. That’s what he wanted most of all,” he said, reported the news station.

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