Stefan Karl Stefansson, ‘LazyTown’s’ Robbie Rotten, dies at 43

Stefan Karl Stefansson, ‘LazyTown’s’ Robbie Rotten, dies at 43
Lazytown Entertainment via CNN
Stefan Karl Stefansson as Robbie Rotten in "LazyTown"

Icelandic actor Stefan Karl Stefansson, best known for playing villain Robbie Rotten in the popular children’s TV show “LazyTown,” has died at age 43 from cancer, according to his wife.

He had been “battling aggressive bile duct cancer for two years,” wrote his wife, Steinunn Olina Thorsteinsdottir, on Facebook Tuesday.

“Per Stefan’s wishes, there will be no funeral. His earthly remains will be scattered in secrecy in a distant ocean.”

Stefansson has three daughters and a son with Thorsteinsdottir.

Stefansson, who played Robbie Rotten during the show’s run from 2004 to 2014, was first diagnosed in 2016. Shortly afterward, his “LazyTown” castmates started a crowdfunding page to support his treatment, raising close to $170,000.

Throughout the years, he often shared his progress with fans on social media, including a surgery to remove his metastases last June.

In her Facebook post, Thorsteinsdottir thanked friends and fans for their support.

Stefansson began his career in theater, performing at the National Theater of Iceland, and later starring in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in the U.S.

However, his most famous role was as Robbie Rotten. The show “LazyTown,” owned by CNN parent company Turner, followed the adventures of an 8-year-old girl and a superhero on a quest to reform the town’s residents with exercise and healthy eating. The duo often faced off with Robbie, whose favorite pastimes included eating junk food and watching TV.

“Entertaining and making kids laugh is my favorite thing,” he wrote on Reddit last year when discussing the show.

A Turner spokesperson said Wednesday, “We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Stefan Karl’s passing. He was an original and talented performer who was deeply loved and brought joy to many people’s lives. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”

Acting aside, Stefansson was also an anti-bullying advocate, and founded a charity called Rainbow Children to help bullied children. Though the charity had to shut down in 2014 from lack of funding, Stefansson continued giving talks and lectures about bullying, even winning the Icelandic president’s public endorsement, local media reported.