Former child actor Coronji Calhoun has died at the age of 30 from congestive heart failure and lung problems, it has been reported.
His mother Theresa C. Bailey confirmed to the CBS affiliate in New Orleans that he passed away last month on October 13.
Calhoun was best known for starring alongside Halle Berry in Monster’s Ball, for which she became the first African American to take home a Best Actress Oscar.
Tragic: Halle Berry’s Monster’s Ball co-star Coronji Calhoun dies at 30 from heart failure and lung problems… as actress helps pay for ‘sacred celebration’ of his life (pictured in the movie)
Berry is said to have helped cover some of the costs for a ‘sacred celebration’ of his life.
She and filmmaker Lee Daniels are listed with the two largest donations to his family’s GoFundMe, both for $3,394.
According to WWL-TV, the fundraiser had an initial goal of $10,000, and Berry and Daniels both split the difference on the remaining amount, though the goal has now been raised to $14,000.
‘We are blown away by the outpouring of love the community and Coronji’s adopted family has shown during our process of grief,’ wrote his mother Theresa C. Bailey on the fundraiser site. ‘As we close this chapter, we ask that in your remembrance of him, you remember to love your neighbor as yourself, because that is what Coronji did for his entire community.’
Calhoun was only 10 when he appeared opposite Berry in the dark drama Monster’s Ball as her son.
Helping out: Berry and filmmaker Lee Daniels are listed with the two largest donations to his family’s GoFundMe, both for $3,394
Berry’s character abuses him in the film, while his father, played by Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, is on death row.
After his father is put to death, she begins a relationship with a prison guard who assisted in his execution (Billy Bob Thornton).
Berry’s searing performance was enough to earn her an Oscar, but she spoke to SF Gate in 2002 about how difficult it was for her to pretend to be abusive to Calhoun on camera.
‘It was a lot harder than even the love scene because Coronji was really 10 [years old] and obese,’ she explained.
Difficult scenes: Berry worried she would ‘damage [Calhoun] emotionally by playing his abusive mother. ‘It was a lot harder than even the love scene because Coronji was really 10 [years old] and obese,’ she explained; still from Monster’s Ball
Standing out from the crowd: Calhoun earned his major part — which would be his sole acting credit — when he attended an open casting call in Louisiana
‘I worried that I would somehow damage him emotionally, not just in doing the scene, but down the road. So I talked to him a lot and hugged and kissed him a lot. He said, “You don’t have to worry about what you say; it can’t be as bad as how they treat me at school.”‘
‘But I hear now he’s the most popular kid in his school. So I guess [the movie] helped,’ she said at the time.
Calhoun earned his major part — which would be his sole acting credit — when he attended an open casting call in Louisiana, despite having never acted before.
Calhoun, who was one of six siblings, is survived by his mother, 10-year-old son and 13-year-old stepson.
Family: Calhoun, who was one of six siblings, is survived by his 10-year-old son and 13-year-old stepson