‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Actor Kenneth Mitchell Dies at 49

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
February 26, 2024Entertainment
‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Actor Kenneth Mitchell Dies at 49
Actor Kenneth Mitchell arrives for the 2015 Golden Maple Awards in Los Angeles on July 1, 2015. (Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)

Kenneth Mitchell, best known for his acting on the science-fiction TV series “Star Trek: Discovery,” died over the weekend, according to his family. He was 49.

“With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Kenneth Alexander Mitchell, beloved father, husband, brother, uncle, son and dear friend,” the actor’s family wrote in a statement on his X account.

Mr. Mitchell, who portrayed various characters in “Star Trek: Discovery” and also voiced several characters in an episode of “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” died on Feb. 24 after a years-long struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

“For five and a half years Ken faced a series of awful challenges from ALS,” his family wrote. “And in truest Ken fashion, he managed to rise above each one with grace and commitment to living a full and joyous life in each moment.”

“He lived by the principles that each day is a gift and that we never walk alone,” they continued. “His life is a shining example of how full one can be when you live with love, compassion, humour, inclusion, and community.”

According to the official Star Trek website, the Canadian-born actor requested that any gifts be directed toward ALS research or in support of his children.

In a statement honoring the late actor, the Star Trek Universe said everyone in the franchise owned by Paramount+ was “deeply saddened” to learn about Mr. Mitchell’s death.

“The entire Star Trek family sends their condolences to Mitchell’s family, friends, loved ones, and fans around the world,” they wrote.

Besides his roles in “Star Trek,” Mr. Mitchell also appeared in the 2019 superhero film “Captain Marvel,” as well as many TV series such as “Jericho,” “CSI: Cyber,” and “The Astronaut Wives Club.”

Mr. Mitchell is survived by his wife, Susan May Pratt; their two children, Lilah and Kallum; his parents, Diane and David, and his brother Sean.

ALS Symptoms and Diagnosis

In February 2020, Mr. Mitchell revealed that he had been diagnosed with ALS—also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease—a neurological disorder that impacts nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, resulting in symptoms such as muscle twitching, weakness, and atrophy.

The symptoms gradually worsen over time and cause paralysis, impacting breathing and voluntary muscle movements like walking, talking, and chewing.

“It’s been a long 5 years. So much lost, so much gained. Incredibly hard times, mixed with so many more blessings,” Mr. Mitchell wrote in his last Instagram post explaining what living with the rare condition was like.

NTD Photo
Kenneth Mitchell attends FX’s “The Old Man” Season 1 LA Tastemaker Event at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles on June 8, 2022. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

“At the heart of it all are friends and family, caregivers and doctors coming to the aid of my family over and over and over again,” he continued. “Giving a plethora of support and love and care and encouragement. There is so much beauty in that.

“This disease is absolutely horrific … yet despite all the suffering, there is so much to be grateful for. Especially the little joys and resilience of today and the hope of a tomorrow.”

Currently, there’s no cure for ALS. However, treatments are available and may help slow its progression and increase life expectancy, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Researchers have yet to determine the cause of the condition. Although genetics have been involved in a small number of cases, about 90 percent are not inherited and may arise from other risk factors, such as environmental exposures, per the ALS Association.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 32,000 cases of ALS have been reported in the United States since 2017, and about 5,000 people in the country are diagnosed with the rare condition each year.

Most patients live from two to five years after symptoms develop. How long someone lives after being diagnosed with ALS seems to be related to age, according to the agency, which noted that younger individuals usually live slightly longer with the disease.

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