Brie Larson has thanked late pilot Stephen Del Bagno for helping create her Captain Marvel character in a gushing tribute following his death last week (ends08Apr18).
The U.S. Air Force pilot, a part of the Thunderbirds aerial demonstration squadron, was killed on Wednesday (04Apr18) when his jet crashed over the Nevada Test and Training Range, north of Nellis Air Force Base, while practicing a routine aerial maneuver.
Major “Cajun” Del Bagno served as a consultant on Captain Marvel, helping Brie prepare to play Carol Danvers, an Air Force pilot whose DNA is fused with that of an alien in an accident, giving her superhero powers.
Brie has now shared a picture of her with Del Bagno on Instagram and written a long, heartfelt tribute to him.
“Cajun, I didn’t know it was possible to feel my heart continue to break deeper and deeper as the reality sets in,” she wrote. “You were a brilliant pilot and an even better person. Thank you for inspiring me to work harder and live fuller.
“There is no Carol without you. You helped create her and I am forever grateful. I hold the call sign you gave me with your fellow pilots and Thunderbird brothers with pride. Its (sic) going to take awhile to get over this, but I understand that this is life. I am thinking about your family and the broken hearts at Nellis. Thank you for impacting my life.”
The Oscar-winning actress also shared a grab of her Instagram post on Twitter and wrote, “Stephen Del Bagno. Rest In Peace brother. I’ll never forget you,” followed by a love heart emoji.
The 28-year-old had previously retweeted a tribute written on the Marvel Studios account, which called Del Bagno “a friend” who will “always be part of the team”, and she added she was so sad about the news and would write her own words about the pilot soon.
Captain Marvel, which also stars Jude Law, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, and Gemma Chan, is currently in production ahead of a March 2019 release.