Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin dies in freak accident

Anton Yelchin, who played Ensign Pavel Chekov in the recently rebooted Star Trek films, has died in freak accident aged 27 after being run over by his own car.

The Russian actor had risen to stardom with several blockbuster films in recent years – including crime thriller Alpha Dog and the teen comedy Charlie Bartlett – and has a starring role in Star Trek Beyond, which is due to hit cinemas next month.

Publicist Jennifer Allen confirmed Yelchin was killed early this morning.

“Actor Anton Yelchin was killed in a fatal traffic collision early this morning,” said a statement from his representative. “His family requests you respect their privacy at this time.”

According to TMZ, the actor died in a “freak accident” after getting pinned between his car and a brick mailbox at his home.

Yelchin was discovered after concerned friends visited his home in San Fernando Valley, California, because he had failed to attend a rehearsal hours earlier.

An only child, Yelchin was born in Russia and moved to the USA as a baby with his parents, who were both professional figure skaters.

Fellow TV and film stars, as well as fans, have begun paying tribute to Yelchin on social media site Twitter.

Anna Kendrick called his death a “huge loss”, while Matt Lucas called it “dreadful news” and Kevin Smith described it as “so damn sad”.

John Cho, who worked with Yelchin on “Star Trek,” tweeted, “I loved Anton Yelchin so much. He was a true artist – curious, beautiful, courageous. He was a great pal and a great son. I’m in ruins.”

And Kat Dennings added, “Anton Yelchin was one of my best friends. Can’t say anything that conveys what this feels like.”

Yelchin’s family has requested privacy at this time.

He was currently working on a number of projects, including an upcoming Stephen King adaptation called Mr Mercedes.