METROPOLIS, Ill. – Residents in the southern Illinois town that shares its name with Superman's adopted city honored the life of actor Christopher Reeve (search) with a candlelight vigil on Superman Square (search).
Dozens of people braved the chilly weather to hold a candlelight vigil Wednesday night in the late actor's honor. They held candles in front of the Superman statue, which had black gauze draped around its railing.
City leaders also declared Wednesday "Christopher Reeve Day. (search)" Mayor Beth Clanahan read a proclamation making Wednesday and Thursday days of mourning.
Reeve, left a quadriplegic after a May 1995 horse-riding accident, died Sunday at the age of 52 after complications from an infection caused by a bedsore.
Metropolis hosts a festival every year dedicated to the comic-book hero. Organizers started the event 25 years ago to draw more tourists to the area.
Vigil participants donated to the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. They also signed a huge condolence card that will go to the Reeve family.
Nova McGregor pushed her manual wheelchair several blocks to the vigil. She put a Superman insignia on the back of her chair years ago.
"I admired him," said McGregor, 52. "I'd like to be able to do some of the things he did."
Kitty Polovine of Paducah, Ky., came to the service to honor Reeve's work on behalf of stem-cell and spinal cord research. Her late husband, Dennis Fusaro, lived longer because of stem-cell research, she said.
"Christopher Reeve put a better face on it," Polovine said. "I would have come here for Christopher Reeve, anyway, but I think it's great what he did."