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Mike Hopkins, a frequent collaborator of director Peter Jackson’s, has died in a rafting accident in New Zealand. He was 53.
According to The Australian, Hopkins’ raft capsized in the Waiohine River in the Wellington area on Sunday. He was wearing a life jacket, helmet and wetsuit.
Police told Stuff.co.nz that Hopkins was one of three on the raft and all three were wearing life jackets. They were in trouble when they encountered a fast flowing current. His companions did survive, but by the time rescue teams arrived, it was too late to save Hopkins.
Hopkins began working with Jackson on his 1992 film Braindead and continued to work with Jackson on his Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong. He won Oscars for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and King Kong. He was nominated in 2008 for his work on Transformers.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that Hopkins is the second Jackson collaborator to die this month. Visual effects producer Eileen Moran, who worked on LOTR and The Hobbit, died earlier this month in New Zealand. She was also an executive producer at Weta Digital.