Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford Tragically Lost Their Adult Son to a ‘Rare but Deadly’ Cancer,’ Warning Everyone to Get Tested

It is sad when anyone loses a family member to cancer. One advantage that actors have is their ability to raise awareness. Thankfully, after losing their son, Rio, Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford are using their tragedy to encourage others to get screened regularly. 

Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford have been married since 1997

Taylor Hackford and Helen Mirren in Venice
Taylor Hackford and Helen Mirren | Laurent KOFFEL/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

According to IMDb, Taylor Hackford has been married three times, with Helen Mirren being his most recent wife. Hackford married Georgia Lowres in 1967, and the couple had one child, Rio Hackford (1970-2022). They divorced in 1972. Hackford then married Lynne Littman in 1977. They had one child together, Alexander Hackford (born 1979). This second marriage lasted until 1987. 

On the other hand, Mirren has only been married once to Hackford. She did have a few past romances, including Liam Neeson. Mirren and Neeson met on the set of Excalibur (1981), and they lived together for four years. Mirren also lived with British photographer and fashion designer James Wedge for four years.

Mirren and Hackford began dating in 1986 after meeting on White Nights (1985) set and married in 1987, as reported on IMDb. When they married in the Scottish Highlands, Hackford wore a traditional Scottish kilt. Both Mirren and Hackford are Oscar winners. 

Rio died from a rare form of eye cancer  

Rio Hackford died on April 14, 2022, at the age of 51. 

Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford told People, “Rio died of uveal melanoma, a very aggressive form of cancer. We would beg everyone reading this to get their eyes tested at least once a year, which might save their loved ones from this cancer.” 

According to WebMD, Uveal melanoma is another name for ocular melanoma. Melanoma is a potentially deadly form of cancer that develops in the cells that give our skin, hair, and eyes their distinctive color, otherwise known as melanocytes. Ocular melanomas can occur on the surface of the eye and eyelid, but they can also form on the inside of the eye. These cancer cells can grow in the uvea, the layer of tissue under the white part of the eye. 

In adults, uveal melanoma is the most common eye cancer. The odds of getting uveal melanoma is about 6 in 1 million. It is still rare. Uveal melanoma can cause vision problems, and it can get very serious if it spreads to other organs. 

Melanoma in the eyes can typically be found during a routine eye exam. Tumors can typically be seen because they are darker than the area around them. If your doctor suspects the possibility of cancer, extra testing might be needed, such as an ultrasound or other imaging. Treatment may include radiation, lasers, biologics, or surgery. 

Since uveal melanoma can be detected during a routine exam, you must get your eyes checked regularly with a board-certified eye doctor. Melanoma must be treated as soon as possible due to its chance of spreading to other organs. 

Rio Hackford had his own successful career 

Helen Mirren said about her stepson that she and Taylor Hackford “are both inspired by the life of our son and stepson, Rio Hackford, and heartbroken by his loss,” according to the LA Times

“His life showed us how to live in generosity and community. He shared his life’s journey with so many who now mourn him, and at the same time, celebrate their fortune in knowing him.” 

Rio did indeed have his own successful career. He appeared in films such as Jonah Hex, Raising Helen, Swingers, and Fred Claus. He also appeared on TV shows like The Mandalorian and Pam & Tommy. He even collaborated with his stepmom, Mirren, on her comedy documentary When Nature Calls

On top of his film and TV career, Rio made a name for himself as a business owner in the club and bar scene, according to IMDb. He owned the El Matador and Pal’s Lounge in New Orleans, the Homestead Bar in San Francisco, and Monty Bar and El Dorado Bar in Los Angeles. 

RELATED: Liam Neeson Owes His Acting Career to His Ex-Girlfriend Helen Mirren Who Got Him an Agent and Let Him Live With Her