Avatar Editor John Refoua Dead at 58

Avatar editor John Refoua, whose work on the film earned him an Oscar nomination in 2009, died May 14 after a battle with bile cancer, his wife Serena Refoua wrote on Facebook.

By Angie Orellana Hernandez May 18, 2023 1:53 AMTags
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The Avatar franchise has lost an important member of its crew.

John Refoua, who worked as a film editor on Avatar and Avatar: The Way of Water, died May 14 after a battle with bile cancer, his wife Serena Refoua shared on Facebook. He was 58.

"Dear friends, my brilliant, sweet, creative husband John Djahanshah Refoua passed away last night May 14 surrounded by family and friends who loved him," Serena wrote. "Despite the pain and complexities of this aggressive disease, he faced it with courage and grit."

According to his wife, John was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma around February 2022. Cholangiocarcinoma is a rare cancer that forms in the bile ducts, per the National Cancer Institute.

Regardless of the illness, John continued to work "right up to his final weeks" on the third installment of director James Cameron's Avatar film series, which is slated to be released at the end of 2024, according to Variety.

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"His life's trajectory was quite unique and anything he touched, he made better," Serena continued. "He loved music, movies, politics, traveling, vintage cars, science fiction, and his 4 year old granddaughter Avery Sophia. We will miss his generosity and wisdom."

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Details about John's celebration of life are still being decided, Serena said.

In addition to his Avatar success, which earned him an Oscar nomination in 2009, John edited Transformers: The Last Knight, The Magnificent Seven and Geostorm, among others.

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