Superman star Christopher Reeve, who became a worldwide advocate for spinal-cord research after being paralyzed in a horse-riding accident nine years ago, died Sunday of complications from an infection caused by a bedsore. He was 52. Reeve slipped into a coma Saturday afternoon after going into cardiac arrest at his New York home. Reeve's first big break came on the small screen when he was cast as bigamist Ben Harper on the soap opera

Love of Life. A bit part in the submarine thriller Gray Lady Down followed and eventually led to his casting as the Man of Steel in 1978's Superman. Following his accident, Reeve earned an Emmy nod for directing the HBO telepic In the Gloaming and won a Screen Actors Guild award for starring in a remake of Rear Window. He also appeared in a recurring role on the WB's Superman prequel series Smallville. In a statement, Reeve's wife, Dana, thanked the doctors and nurses "as well as the millions of fans from around the world who have supported and loved my husband over the years."