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'Saving Private Ryan' actor Tom Sizemore dies at 61

He was hospitalized after a brain aneurysm Feb. 18, his manager said.
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Hollywood tough guy Tom Sizemore, who won acclaim for "Saving Private Ryan" before his career spiraled amid drug abuse and domestic violence allegations, died Friday, his manager said.

He was 61.

Sizemore died in his sleep at St. Joseph’s Hospital Burbank, his manager Charles Lago said in a statement Friday.

Sizemore's brother, Paul, and Sizemore’s 17-year-old twin sons, Jayden and Jagger, were at his side, Lago said. Paul Sizemore called his older brother "larger than life."

"He has influenced my life more than anyone I know. He was talented, loving, giving and could keep you entertained endlessly with his wit and storytelling ability," Paul Sizemore said in a statement. "I am devastated he is gone and will miss him always”

Sizemore collapsed at his home in Los Angeles after a brain aneurysm Feb. 18 and doctors were never able to revive him. Earlier this week, doctors informed his family there was no further hope and recommended an end-of-life decision.

Saving Private Ryan
Tom Sizemore, second from left, as Sgt. Mike Horvath in the 1998 classic "Saving Private Ryan." CBS via Getty Images

The veteran actor is best known for playing Sgt. Mike Horvath in “Saving Private Ryan,” which came out in 1998 and won five Academy Awards. The movie brought Steven Spielberg a best director award.

Sizemore and his on-screen “Ryan” colleagues were nominated for outstanding performance by a cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

He also was in “Black Hawk Down,” “Strange Days,” “Heat” and other films.

SHOOTER - Season 1
Tom Sizemore as Hugh Meachum in the 2016 TV series "Shooter." NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

In recent years, Sizemore's headlines were more often than not connected to drug abuse and allegations of domestic abuse.

In a 2005 interview with “Dateline” correspondent Keith Morrison, Sizemore said there was a direct correlation between leading a sober life and his once-skyrocketing career.

When asked when his longest stretch of sobriety was, he said: "Doing any drugs at all? From ‘95 to 2001. It’s not a coincidence they’re the most prolific years, and my career was building.”

“My poor judgment, the drug abuse. I take full responsibility for," Sizemore said.

"I wish I hadn’t done it. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me. It’s that simple. I don’t want to die. Already, my mother hasn’t slept for three years.”

"The Red Road" Portraits - 2014 Sundance Film Festival
Tom Sizemore during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.Jeff Vespa / WireImage file

The lowest points of his public life came during a yearslong criminal case in Los Angeles County when he was accused of beating up his girlfriend at the time, former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss.

He was convicted in 2003 of beating and threatening Fleiss, and sentenced to six months in jail. Sizemore in 2005 insisted he didn't hit her.

Even after the Fleiss conviction, he had continued, drug-related run-ins with the law.

A judge jailed Sizemore in 2005 for violating probation after he allegedly failed drugs tests and even tried to use a fake penis to falsely pass clean urine.

He was arrested outside a Bakersfield, California, hotel in 2007 on a charge of possession of methamphetamine.

All those brushes with the law took their toll on Sizemore's family, particularly his mother and father, the actor said in 2005.

Thomas Edward Sizemore Jr. was born Nov. 29, 1961, in Detroit to Judith Sizemore, a civil servant, and Thomas Sizemore Sr., a lawyer.

He studied theater at Wayne State University before getting one of his first big Hollywood screen credits in the critically acclaimed 1989 Vietnam War movie, "Born on the Fourth of July," which was directed by Oliver Stone.

Sizemore teamed up with Stone five years later in "Natural Born Killers."

Hollywood success opened the door to a never-ending flow of booze and drugs, which Sizemore said he abused despite the best efforts of his friends, such as fellow actor Robert DeNiro and director Michael Mann, to keep him sober.

From the red carpet of "Saving Private Ryan," Sizemore would end up with another screen credit with far less acclaim, the VH1 reality show "Celebrity Rehab."

“I am very, very sorry to those people I did mislead, which is a euphemism for ‘lied to.’ Robert De Niro and Michael Mann particularly, (for) taking a very big interest in me as a man and as a performer and as a person with a disease and I went to rehab several times,” he told The Associated Press in 2013.

“I’m very, very sorry for the people that I hurt, especially my father.”

In addition to his twin sons and brother, Sizemore is survived by ex-wife Maeve Quinlan and former girlfriend Janelle McIntire, who gave birth to Jagger and Jayden Sizemore.

Quinlan in Friday's statement said her heart was with Tom Sizemore and his family.

"Most especially, my thoughts and prayers go out to Tom’s two sons, Jayden and Jagger. May God hold you both in the palm of his hand, give you strength and bless you all the days of your lives," she said.

A private cremation service will be held and a larger celebration of life event will be planned in a few weeks, Lago said.

"The Sizemore family has been comforted by the hundreds of messages of support and love shown to their son, brother and father," said Lago, who called Sizemore a personal friend and mentor.