A crew member from Disney's "The Lone Ranger" has died while working on a set for the movie, according to production company Walt Disney Studios.
"We regretfully confirm that a Lone Ranger crew member has passed away after being taken to a local hospital," a company rep said in a statement to OTRC.com on Friday, September 21. "Our hearts and thoughts are with his family, friends, and colleagues at this time, and our full support is behind the investigation into the circumstances of this terrible event."
The rep did not specify how the crew member died or identify the man by name. According to Deadline.com, cameras were not filming at the time of the crew member's death, which occurred while he was helping to set up an underwater scene. The website also reported that the crew member was not a stuntman.
A Los Angeles County Coroner's spokesperson told the Associated Press that the man was 48 and cleaning a pool that was supposed to be used in the film on one of the movie's sets in Acton, near Los Angeles, before he died. The rep said it appears the man suffered a heart attack. An autopsy is pending.
In the film, set for release in July 2013, Johnny Depp stars as the the Native American spirit warrior Tonto, while the Lone Ranger is portrayed by "Social Network" actor Armie Hammer. The project comes from the filmmakers of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series and sees Tonto joining forces with John Reid, a lawman who becomes a masked avenger nicknamed the Lone Ranger, in a "fight for justice."
The franchise began as a radio series in the 1930s and inspired films, television shows, comic books and records, as well as the spin-off "The Green Hornet." The "Lone Ranger" franchise sees the main character and Tonto fighting crime in the Old West and spurred the hero's catchphrase, "Hi-yo, Silver! Away!" He shouts it to his horse.
Production on "the Lone Ranger" was delayed last year due to budget issues. Filming began in mid-February.