Nanny McPhee child star Raphael Coleman has died, aged 25

11 February 2020, 09:39

Raphael Coleman in 2005
Raphael Coleman in 2005. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Former child star Raphael Coleman has tragically died at the age of 25.

The actor, who played Eric Brown in Nanny McPhee opposite Emma Thompson, passed away on Friday (February 7), his mother Liz Jensen confirmed on Twitter.

"Rest in peace my beloved son Raphael Coleman, aka Iggy Fox," she wrote. "He died doing what he loved, working for the noblest cause of all. His family could not be prouder. Let’s celebrate all he achieved in his short life and cherish his legacy."

In a longer post on Facebook, his stepdad Carsten Jensen explained that he "collapsed without prior health problems".

AT DØ UNG Der er vel ikke noget, der får en til at opleve døden som så uretfærdig og meningsløs, som når et ungt...

Posted by Carsten Jensen on Saturday, 8 February 2020

"I guess there’s nothing that makes you see death as unfair and meaningless as when a young person dies," he said. "It’s life itself that’s sabotaged. It just happened to my wife, Liz, whose youngest son, Raph of only 25, died last Friday.

"He collapsed without prior health problems in the middle of a trip and could not be restored. I got to know Raph when he was six years old, and we were so close."

"I will never forget you, we say in a farewell greeting to the dead," he continued. "But when it’s your own child, it’s your genes, your whole body, something greater than the word I who forever refuse to accept the judgment of death.

"Raph wasn’t my child, even though I was close to him. But I can feel it myself. I see it in his mother’s eyes, and I hear it in her voice, the irreversible loss of the most precious thing in life."

Raphael ran Extinction Rebellion’s social media accounts, with Carsten praising him for his work with the activist group.

"Raph was one of the first and most active members. Under the name Iggy Fox, he controlled the group’s use of social media, spoke at demonstrations, and was arrested again and again," he said.

"By April, he should have been in court accused of painting the Brazilian Embassy with red when the amazon jungle was standing in flames. He didn’t want a lawyer, but he wrote himself on his defense court when he died.

"When I think of Raph, I see something that will never die, a blunt of eternity, a light beam that lives forever in young people. ‘We believe that it is us, the older generations who have something to give the young people. We believe that we are the ones who pass the baton of life to them. But I think it’s the other way around."

Raphael first found fame in 2005, when he starred as one of the kids in Nanny McPhee alongside Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Angela Lansbury.

He also appeared in 2009's It’s Alive, The Fourth Kind and Edward’s Turmoil, and won best young actor at the British Independent Film Festival in 2010.

He later stopped acting and focused on his studies, becoming a biologist, and travelled around the world for work. He also spent a year in a jungle in Costa Rica, and six months in Indonesia, before joining Extinction Rebellion.