'Star Trek' director, co-star pay tribute to actor Anton Yelchin

Yelchin was likely best known for starring as Pavel Chekov, the young navigator on the bridge of the starship Enterprise, in the new 'Star Trek' films. 'He was a true artist – curious, beautiful, courageous,' 'Trek' co-star John Cho wrote of the actor.

Tony Gentile/Reuters
Anton Yelchin attends the Venice Film Festival in 2014.

Actor Anton Yelchin, best known for playing the young Russian starship navigator Chekov in the rebooted series of "Star Trek" movies, has died.

A number of actors and others who worked with Yelchin took to social media with tributes.

"Still in shock. Rest in peace, Anton," Justin Lin, who directed Yelchin in his third "Star Trek" movie, wrote on Twitter. "Your passion and enthusiasm will live on with everyone that had the pleasure of knowing you."

The Russian-born Yelchin was best known for assuming the role of Pavel Chekov, the young navigator on the bridge of the starship Enterprise, for the 2009 re-launch of the "Star Trek" film franchise and two sequels – 2013's "Star Trek Into Darkness" and the upcoming "Star Trek Beyond," set to open on July 22.

The Chekov character was originally played on television in the 1960s "Star Trek" series, and in the first seven big-screen adaptations of the show, by Walter Koenig.

[An earlier version of this story misstated information about Koenig.]

"I loved Anton Yelchin so much," wrote John Cho, who played fellow Enterprise crew member Sulu in the new "Star Trek" films. "He was a true artist – curious, beautiful, courageous. He was a great pal and a great son. I'm in ruins."

Yelchin was born in St. Petersburg, the son of two figure skaters, and emigrated to the United States as an infant.

He has appeared in numerous films and was in the TV series "Huff," starring Hank Azaria, who wrote on Twitter that he was devastated. "He was a very sweet kid. My heart goes out to his family."

Early in his career as a teenager, Yelchin gained wide attention appearing with Anthony Hopkins in the 2001 film "Hearts in Atlantis" and with Robin Williams in 2004's "House of D."

Yelchin played Jacob Clarke in the Steven Spielberg miniseries "Taken" and also appeared in the films "Terminator Salvation," "Charlie Bartlett," "Fright Night," "Like Crazy," and "Only Lovers Left Alive" between 2007 and 2013.

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