(Reuters) - A heartbroken Hollywood rushed to pay tribute to cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on Friday after she was accidentally shot dead by actor Alec Baldwin on a movie set.
The 42-year-old was working as director of photography on the New Mexico set of new Western "Rush" when she was killed on Thursday when Baldwin fired a prop gun.
Devastated colleagues and friends pleaded for the world to focus on Hutchins and her immense talent as the film industry debated the use of prop guns on set and Baldwin's role.
"There is Alec Baldwin, all these news are talking about this because we like sensations like this," said fellow cinematographer and friend Andriy Semenyuk. "And I would just really want to focus on remembering an incredibly talented person... the craft that she was bringing to this industry.
"That's what she was truly, not to mention her personality, not to mention being an amazing mum. Just remember her for what she has done, for her talent, for her achievements."
Born in Ukraine, Hutchins' career in Los Angeles included cinematography credits for 32 films, including "Archenemy" starring Joe Manganiello.
"I'm in shock," Manganiello tweeted. "I was so lucky to have had Halyna Hutchins as my DP on Archenemy. An incredible talent & great person. I can't believe this could happen in this day and age… gunfire from a prop gun could kill a crew member? What a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to her family."
Hutchins grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle, according to her website. She started her career as an investigative journalist before moving to America to study at the American Film Institute and, eventually, broke into cinematography, a profession dominated by men. She was named a rising star by American Cinematographer magazine in 2019.
Her last post on Instagram shows her riding a horse in New Mexico in which she commented that it was one of the perks of shooting a Western on a day off.
"Halyna Hutchins was a ray of light," her agency Innovative Artists said in a statement. "Always smiling, always hopeful. She decided early on she would take the craft of cinematography by storm and the last couple of years proved she was well on her way.
"Her talent was immense, only surpassed by the love she had for her family. All those in her orbit knew what was coming; a star director of photography, who would be a force to be reckoned with."
(Writing by Leela de Kretser; Editing by Sandra Maler)