The 37 year-old actor, who died of a brain injury at the hospital in Grenoble, was skiing on an intermediate slope under a clear weather in the La Rosière resort located in the Alps when he collided with a skier while making a left turn at around 4 p.m., according to a statement released by the Savoie prosecutor in Albertville.
Both Ulliel and the other person were skiing at normal speeds when the collision occurred, and they both fell on the ground. The other skier, a 40-year old Lithuanian man who was questioned by authorities as a witness, was unharmed and wore a helmet. Ulliel, whose head hit the ground, wasn’t wearing a helmet when rescuers arrived, according to the news channel BFM, citing the director of the ski resort. No complaints were filed in this case.
The funeral service for Ulliel took place on Thursday, Jan. 27, at the Sainte-Eustache church in the heart of Paris. Reflecting the shock that Ulliel’s death has provoked in France and within the film community, the late actor’s funeral service attracted nearly 1,000 people. Besides Ulliel’s family, including his six-year old son, a flurry of friends and fellow actors turned up to pay him respects, notably Catherine Deneuve, Lea Seydoux, Jérémie Renier, Vincent Cassel and Nathalie Baye.
Ulliel, who had several high profile projects lined up, was on a break from filming a crime thriller series directed by Xavier Giannoli (“Lost Illusions”) for Canal Plus. The production has been paused since Ulliel’s death and is expected to restart on Jan. 31. Ulliel’s co-stars in the series, notably Vincent Lindon (“Titane”) and Ramzy Bedia, also attended the heart-wrenching funeral service.
Martin Scorsese and Xavier Dolan are some of the many filmmakers and actors who have paid tribute to Ulliel. Dolan, who directed him in “It’s Only the End of the World, posted a moving tribute in French on Instagram, saying “It’s unbelievable, absurd, and so painful to even think of writing these words. Your discreet laugher, your caring gaze. Your scar. Your talent. Your listening skill. Your whispers, your kindness. All these personality traits that emanated from a shining softness. Your whole being transformed my life, a being that loved deeply and that I will always love. I can’t say anything more. I feel drained, shaken by your [death].”
Scorsese, who directed Ulliel in a 2010 commercial for the Chanel cologne Bleu, told IndieWire in a note that he “was so impressed by [Ulliel’s] dedication and his intelligence. He loved the cinema, and I know that he would have been an interesting filmmaker if he’d lived to realize his dream.”