On May 27, 1995, Christopher's life took a catastrophic turn. At a horseback-riding competition, the actor fell headfirst off his horse and broke his neck. He was in a coma for four days and woke to tragic news: He was paralyzed from the neck down. Doctors told him he would never walk again. Unable to take a single breath on his own, the 6-foot-4-inch star now needed a respirator to survive.
Three years after his accident, Christopher appeared on The Oprah Show and said he was looking toward the future. "If you play the game of 'what-if,' it's a losing battle," he said. "You end up moving backwards not forwards." Christopher said that, in the wake of his injury, his wife, Dana, gave him the will to live. He continued acting and directing from a wheelchair, wrote two best-selling books and championed the fight to find a cure for spinal cord injuries.
On October 9, 2004, nine years after his accident left him paralyzed, Christopher slipped into a coma due to complications from infections. He died the next day.
Remembering Christopher Reeve
A little less than one year after Christopher's death, and seven months after her final Oprah Show appearance, Dana revealed that she had been diagnosed with lung cancer. She had been an activist for disability causes and received the 2005 Mother of the Year Award from the American Cancer Society for her dedication and determination in raising her son after the loss of her husband.
Dana died on March 6, 2006, eleven days before her 45th birthday.