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Publicist Nanci Ryder Dead at 67 After Battle With ALS


Hollywood is in mourning over the loss of beloved publicist Nanci Ryder

On Thursday, June 11, Ryder, who battled ALS for nearly six years, died at the age of 67. Longtime friend Bryan Lourd confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter

Ryder’s A-list clientele included the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Renée Zellweger, Courteney Cox, Leonardo DiCaprio, Blake Lively, Jennifer LopezMichael J. Fox and many more. Following her 2014 diagnosis of the progressive neurodegenerative disease, celebrities rallied around Ryder at annual Walk to Defeat ALS events, often wearing “Team Nanci” t-shirts to show their support. 

In a recent interview with Brain & Life Magazine, Zellweger and Cox reflected on their years-long friendship with the co-founder of BWR Public Relations.

“I would do anything for Nanci,” the Friends star shared. “It makes me feel a little less helpless. I can show up and hope that by my showing up, she knows I love her. If there’s one extra person who finds out about this disease, I’m doing something. But it’s not enough.” 

Zellweger also remained one of Ryder’s closest confidantes as the disease worsened.

“Every time I see her,” the Oscar winner shared, “I don’t know what to expect in terms of how she’ll be or how my own emotions will be. But like any friendship, it has stages and evolves. You adapt. You trust that the love you feel will help you navigate. You just show up. I have accepted that this is how I will go forward in our friendship. I will continue to love her, to advocate for her, and to show up.”

After news of her passing broke, stars took to social media to honor Ryder with personal tributes. 

“Absolutely gutted to hear of Nanci Ryder’s passing,” Emmy Rossum tweeted. “Nanci was a beacon for me in my career. She was an absolutely joy to be around. I’ll miss her wicked sense of humor, her gossip, her laugh, her emails, her spirit, her smarts, her kindness and love. I’ll miss her so much.”

Photographer Brian Bowen Smith shared on Instagram in part, “Nanci you have touched so many people and paved the way for even more. Rest well my girl. I love you.”

In lieu of flowers, multiple outlets report donations can be made in Ryder’s memory to teamnanci.org, which supports the ALS Association Golden West Chapter.

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