A beloved Icelandic actress has died. Edda Heiðrún Backman, actress, theater director and visual artist, passed away Saturday at Landspítalinn National University Hospital, at the age of 58, RÚV reports.
Edda had fought a degenerative disease, motor neurone disease (MND), since 2004, which gradually causes paralysis. The disease forced her to quit acting. Instead she took up directing and directed numerous plays, both at the National Theater of Iceland and at Reykjavík City Theater. In 2008, again forced to find a new outlet for her creativity, she took up painting with her mouth, and earned high praise for her work.
Edda fought hard for the rights of the disabled, and directed a national fundraising effort for renovations at the Landspítali Grensás rehabilitation center.
She received an honorary award the Icelandic Performing Arts Awards, Gríman, in 2015. In 2003, she received an Edda Award, at the annual film and TV awards in Iceland. In 2008, Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, honored her by including her in its group of honorary artists.
Edda Heiðrún is survived by two children.