Superman Star Christopher Reeve Dies, Pro-Life Group Mourns His Passing

( [email protected] ) Oct 14, 2004 08:44 PM EDT

Christopher Reeve, known for his role as ``Superman'' in movies passed away on Sunday Oct, 10, after succumbing to heart failure. Reeve, went into cardiac arrest Oct. 9, was known widely as an advocate for spinal cord and stem cell research.

After breaking his neck in 1995 while falling off a horse, Reeve became a top spokesman for taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research.

That put him at odds with pro-life groups who believe embryonic stem cell research would violate moral codes; pro-lifers prefer an alternative approach that uses adult stem cells for research.

Despite the disagreement, one pro-life group said it mourns Reeve's death.

"Today we mourn the passing of the great entertainer Christopher Reeve. Our sincere condolences go to his brave family and friends who supported him through his long years of struggle," said Austin Ruse, president of the Culture of Life Foundation.

Ruse expressed concerns that embryonic stem cell research advocates may use Reeve's passing to crusade for more taxpayer funding in the same way they latched onto the death of President Ronald Reagan.

"The fact is that after twenty years and many millions of dollars, embryo-destructive research has not successfully treated a single patient or a single disease," Ruse said.

Ruse said he supports adult stem cell research since paralyzed patients can receive more benefits from adult stem cell therapy than from embryonic stem cell research.

"Adult stem cell therapy has already helped those with severe spinal cord injuries to walk again -- two of whom testified before the US Senate last month," Ruse added. "One of those who testified even suffered from quadriplegia just like Christopher Reeve."

The 6-foot-4-inch actor was known worldwide for his role as the comic book superhero “Superman” who goes through life as newspaper reporter Clark Kent. He played Superman in four movies, from 1978 through 1987.