Anton Yelchin, when he took over the role of Pavel Chekov, did so with the blessing of his predecessor, Walter Koenig. Now, in a scenario no one ever could have imagined, the 79-year-old Koenig is paying tribute to the much younger actor, as Yelchin was just 27 years old when he was crushed by his car in a fatal accident at home on June 19. In a statement made to The Hollywood Reporter on June 20, Koenig recalled meeting Yelchin on the set of Star Trek (2009).

"We spoke on a sound stage for about two hours," told the trade paper. "His reputation as an artist preceded him, however. I knew I was in the presence of a gifted performer."

Koenig added that while he and Yelchin did not become close friends, Yelchin made a real impression on him.

"What I learned that day was how bright and sensitive he was. I walked away thinking — ‘This is a good person,’" Koenig said. "My heart goes out to his mother and father. I know what you're going through."
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