Actors And Fans Paid Touching Tribute To Broadway Icon Stephen Sondheim, Who Died At 91

Theater buffs mourned the loss of the legendary songwriter behind influential musicals like West Side Story and Sweeney Todd.

Charles Krupa / AP

Stephen Sondheim at a gathering at Tufts University on April 12, 2004

Stephen Sondheim, hailed as one of Broadway's most iconic and influential songwriters, died early Friday at his Connecticut home, the New York Times reported. He was 91.

Sondheim, whose work included West Side Story and Sweeney Todd, did not have any known illness, and his death was sudden, his friend and lawyer, F. Richard Pappas, told the Times. He had celebrated Thanksgiving with friends in Roxbury, Connecticut, on Thursday, Pappas added.

Sondheim had been a prolific composer and lyricist since the 1950s, and his innovative and celebrated work for shows like Company, Follies, Into the Woods, Gypsy, and Sunday in the Park With George, among many others, is widely credited with setting a new standard in American musical theater.

During his decadeslong career, Sondheim received multiple awards, including six Tony Awards for best score, a Pulitzer Prize for Sunday in the Park, an Oscar for the song "Sooner or Later" from the movie Dick Tracy, and five Olivier Awards, the Washington Post reported. In 2015, then-president Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Stars including Hugh Jackman and Barbra Streisand, as well as theater fans, flooded social media with tributes to the songwriting titan, with some sharing personal stories of how much his work had impacted them.

Sondheim was known for sending personal and thoughtful letters to those who wrote to him, and many shared the touching notes they had received from him.

We’ve lost the great #StephenSondheim. The rest is silence.

Twitter: @JohnLithgow

I am so so sad to lose my friend Steve Sondheim He gave me so much to sing about ♥️♥️I loved him dearly and will miss him so much Thank you for all the gifts you gave the world Steve♥️

Twitter: @OfficialBPeters

Thank the Lord that Sondheim lived to be 91 years old so he had the time to write such wonderful music and GREAT lyrics! May he Rest In Peace🥲🎵 🎶🎵

Twitter: @BarbraStreisand

Every so often someone comes along that fundamentally shifts an entire art form. Stephen Sondheim was one of those. As millions mourn his passing I also want to express my gratitude for all he has given to me and so many more. Sending my love to his nearest and dearest.

Twitter: @RealHughJackman

Perhaps not since April 23rd of 1616 has theater lost such a revolutionary voice. Thank you Mr. Sondheim for your Demon Barber, some Night Music, a Sunday in the Park, Company, fun at a Forum, a trip Into the Woods and telling us a West Side Story. RIP. 🙏 https://t.co/jHX7ob9JWv

Twitter: @joshgad

Goodbye dear sir. We will spend our lives trying to make you proud. #stephensondheim

Twitter: @idinamenzel

Stephen Sondheim was the best there ever was. I don’t know when we will ever have another of his caliber, of his breadth and scope. Just the greatest, a legend, a true titan. Rest In Peace. ❤️

Twitter: @UzoAduba

RIP Stephen Sondheim. Receiving this letter as a theatre-mad 16-year-old made me cry for weeks and propelled me towards a career of art and writing. Thank you for everything. Rest easy.

Twitter: @faeotoole

RIP Stephen Sondheim. Not just a genius but a truly wonderful person. He'd go see everything and encourage young artists (like so many, I received a personal note which thrills me to this day.) He loved the theater; he was and will always be the theater. There will be trumpets

Twitter: @PaulRudnickNY

I received a personal note from Sondheim when I was a just a shy high school theater kid interested in writing. It was so encouraging & heartfelt, answering my questions & offering advice in a 3 page letter. I’ve always loved his work- but his heart is what made the impact to me. https://t.co/83owh4Zhec

Twitter: @WaymonHudson

I’m absolutely devastated at the passing of Sondheim. Your lyrics touch the soul, your characters are full of truth and on a personal note, thank you for getting me into theatre. You have been an inspiration for many and will continue to be so.

Twitter: @ServingLuke