Director Joel Souza has issued a statement as he recovers from injuries sustained in an accidental on-set shooting, which led to the death of his co-worker, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
The 42-year-old director of photography died after being shot by a prop gun that cast member and co-producer Alec Baldwin fired on the set of Souza's film Rust on a New Mexico ranch on Thursday, Oct. 21. Souza, 48, was treated at a hospital for his injuries before being released. Police are investigating the incident.
"I am gutted by the loss of my friend and colleague, Halyna," the director said in a statement to NBC News on Saturday, Oct. 22, in what marked his first public comments about the shooting. "She was kind, vibrant, incredibly talented, fought for every inch and always pushed me to be better. My thoughts are with her family at this most difficult time."
He continued, "I am humbled and grateful by the outpouring of affection we have received from our filmmaking community, the people of Santa Fe, and the hundreds of strangers who have reached out...It will surely aid in my recovery."
A day after the cinematographer's death, Baldwin tweeted, "There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours. I'm fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna."
Hutchins' husband Matthew Hutchins, father of their 9-year-old son, Andros, later confirmed he had spoken to the actor, who he said "being very supportive."
On Saturday, Matthew shared a tribute to his late wife online, which included several family photos. "Halyna inspired us all with her passion and vision, and her legacy is too meaningful to encapsulate in words," he tweeted. "Our loss is enormous, and we ask that the media please respect my family's privacy as we process our grief. We thank everyone for sharing images and stories of her life."
In a statement on Friday, the cinematographer's agent described Hutchins as "a ray of light," saying, "Her talent was immense, only surpassed by the love she had for her family. All those in her orbit knew what was coming; a star director of photography, who would be a force to be reckoned with."
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