‘NCIS’ & ‘Star Trek’ Star Kenneth Mitchell Abruptly Died at 49, Survived by 2 Kids — Cause of Death Revealed

  • Kenneth Mitchell, an actor who starred in “NCIS” and “Star Trek,” died at 49.
  • His family shared his obituary and his poetic final wishes on Instagram.
  • Mitchell was a devoted father, a pursuer of hope, and a source of inspiration to many.
Kenneth Mitchell at the Jericho first season DVD launch party on October 2, 2007 in Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images

Kenneth Mitchell at the Jericho first season DVD launch party on October 2, 2007 in Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images

Kenneth Mitchell, a versatile actor known for his roles in “NCIS” and “Star Trek,” passed away abruptly at the age of 49 on February 24, 2024. His family announced his untimely death on his verified Instagram page.

Kenneth Mitchell as Eric in the first season of "Jericho" on October 4, 2006 | Source: Getty Images

Kenneth Mitchell as Eric in the first season of “Jericho” on October 4, 2006 | Source: Getty Images

Mitchell’s acting career was as diverse as it was impressive, with roles in films like “Captain Marvel,” “The Recruit,” “Miracle,” and “Home of the Giants.” In “Star Trek: Discovery,” he showcased his range by playing multiple characters, including Klingons Kol, Kol-Sha, and Tenavik, as well as Aurelio.

The family’s statement read, “With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Kenneth Alexander Mitchell, beloved father, husband, brother, uncle, son, and dear friend.” They continued to portray him as a pursuer of hope, a daydreamer, a believer in dreams, and above all, a devoted father.

Mitchell is survived by his wife, actress Susan May Pratt, whom he married on May 7, 2006, and their two children, Lilah and Kallum. The family’s homage underscored Mitchell’s commitment and diligence, characteristics that were most profoundly manifested in his role as a father.

Even with his subsequent troubles, Mitchell unearthed a greater purpose in embodying a more genuine version of himself for his children. The family stated, “Ken will be forever proud of who his children have become.”

In 2021, Mitchell spoke fondly of his children’s introduction to the “Star Trek” world. He shared how his son would mimic the sounds of the Klingon language and wield a foam bat’leth around the house. Mitchell and his son shared a special bedtime ritual, saying, “Live long and prosper” to each other.

This ritual extended to their daily school drop-offs, where they would meet at the window, put their hands up on the glass, and repeat their “Star Trek” mantra. Mitchell would then walk home, his heart full of love. He said, “It gives me hope. Children are so beautiful that way.”

Mitchell’s obituary, shared by his family on Instagram, revealed the actor’s five-and-a-half-year battle with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a neurodegenerative disease that impairs motor neurons. Despite the challenges posed by ALS, Mitchell faced each one with grace and courage, living a life full of joy in each moment.

As per the family’s statement, his life was a radiant exemplar of love, compassion, humor, inclusivity, and community. He was a source of inspiration to all who had the privilege of knowing him.

Mitchell received his ALS diagnosis in 2018, a condition that hampers the ability to control body muscles, including those in the throat and diaphragm. This resulted in significant alterations in his movement and voice, eventually leading to the need for a wheelchair.

Despite these physical and emotional hurdles, Mitchell’s spirit remained indomitable and he continued to play his role as a loving father, even dropping off his son at school. His condition even prompted “Star Trek” to rethink its representation of differently-abled individuals on-screen, resulting in the creation of a character that Mitchell could portray from his wheelchair.

In a behind-the-scenes featurette for “Star Trek: Discovery” season 3, aptly titled “Kenneth Mitchell: To Boldly Go,” Mitchell spoke candidly about his condition. As he spoke of how he coped with the condition, he couldn’t help but tear up.

Kenneth Mitchell sheds tears during a "Star Trek" behind-the-scenes featurette titled "Kenneth Mitchell: To Boldly Go" from a video dated July 15, 2021 | Source: YouTube/@StarTrekOfficial

Kenneth Mitchell sheds tears during a “Star Trek” behind-the-scenes featurette titled “Kenneth Mitchell: To Boldly Go” from a video dated July 15, 2021 | Source: YouTube/@StarTrekOfficial

His emotional depiction of “Aurellio” not only moved the audience but also his fellow cast and crew members. One of them commended Mitchell, saying, “He did a wonderful job. Ken is heroically managing with ALS.”

Another crew member expressed his admiration for Mitchell, stating, “The man is brilliant. He’s a brilliant pal. He’s a brilliant friend. He’s a brilliant husband. He’s a brilliant actor.”

Mitchell himself reflected on his journey and how much “Star Trek” meant to him, saying, “It’s not lost on me that the themes of the show of hope and discovery, inclusion, love… that’s where my life sits right now, with science. And I feel like I’m surrounded by this incredible blanket of love and support and warmth. And I am proud to collaborate with all of these people and to give back.”

Before his passing, Mitchell expressed a few heartfelt wishes. His first request was that any gifts in his memory be directed towards ALS research or in support of his children, a testament to his selflessness and dedication to his family and the cause close to his heart.

Mitchell’s second wish was deeply poetic and symbolic, reflecting his profound connection with nature and life itself. He expressed a desire to become a tree after his death – a Ginkgo, White Pine, Jacaranda, Lemon, Cedar, Oak, Myrtle, or Maple.

He wished to be buried under the roots, to be absorbed by the tree, and to reach up through the branches to touch the night sky. He wanted to twinkle with the stars, feel the sun on his leaves, and give off oxygen for all to breathe. He envisioned children climbing his branches, students leaning on him, and animals eating the fruits he would bear.

In a beautiful metaphor for his journey through life, he wished to be carved into a canoe paddle when the time was right, to flow and wind down the river. With the remaining wood, he wished for a bonfire by the ocean and a great big drum to be carved.

He wanted the drum to beat deep and low, to the rhythm of the heart, to sway with the flames, to fill souls, reach into bones, resonate, connect with minds, and transcend with every beat.

Kenneth Mitchell attends the Premiere Of CBS's

Kenneth Mitchell attends the Premiere Of CBS’s “Star Trek: Discovery” on September 19, 2017 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

The last part of the touching poem titled, “Connect,” read, “We are Family, we are Friends, I am your brother and sister, I am nature. Dance with me. Smile with me. Feel with me. Dream with me. Ascend with me. Fall and fail with me, but rise with me. Together. Connected. Ever flowing and beating. With hope and optimism. With tenacity and humility. With love and kindness. With courage and vigor. With conviction. Take my hand, my branch, my paddle, my drum, and dance with me…forever!”

Kenneth Mitchell’s life, his battle with ALS, and his final wishes paint a picture of a man who lived with grace, courage, and an unwavering love for life. His legacy will continue to inspire and touch hearts for years to come.