Annie Wersching, Tess in The Last of Us, dies age 45

American actress Annie Wersching, most notable in the video game space for playing Tess in The Last of Us, has died of cancer at the age of 45.

As reported by Deadline via her publicist, Wersching was diagnosed in 2020, and continued to work following the diagnosis. She played the Borg Queen in the second season of Star Trek: Picard, and had a recurring role in the Nathan Fillion series The Rookie.

Previously, she had portrayed Lily Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries, Amelia Joffe in General Hospital, and had a notable main cast role in the Fox action drama 24 starring opposite Kiefer Sutherland.

In The Last of Us, she portrayed Tess, the first companion of Joel’s you meet after the prologue. Her role was played by Anna Torv in the HBO TV series.

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Wersching’s husband, Stephen Full, also an actor, issued a statement: “There is a cavernous hole in the soul of this family today. But she left us the tools to fill it. She found wonder in the simplest moment. She didn’t require music to dance. She taught us not to wait for adventure to find you. ‘Go find it. It’s everywhere.’ And find it we shall.

As I drove our boys, the true loves of her life, down the winding driveway and street, she would yell BYE! until we were out of earshot and into the world. I can still hear it ringing. Bye my Buddie. ‘I love you little family…’

Following the news of Wersching’s passing, friends and colleagues began sharing tributes to her across social media. Her 24 co-star Kiefer Sutherland said: “The world lost a light today @Wersching was one of the greatest actors I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, and my friend. My heart breaks for her young family. May she be remembered for the beautiful person that she was.

Neil Druckmann, the co-director of The Last of Us, also shared: “I miss my silly friend who helped bring Tess to life. Annie, you left us way too soon. You will forever be part of the TLoU & Naughty Dog family!

There is currently a GoFundMe launched to help support the family. GameByte shares its deepest condolences with Wersching’s family and friends.