When he passed away last week at the age of 83, Leonard Nimoy was mourned by actors, artists, politicians, scientists, engineers, astronauts and even the President of the United States. That should tell you something. Few characters have had such a seismic impact on popular culture as Star Trek’s Spock and countless people all over the world felt like they had lost a friend. Amidst the countless tributes, there is now one that stands out: a brief but powerful remembrance from Zachary Quinto, who picked up the Spock mantle in 2009’s Star Trek and its sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness.

Writing for Time, Quinto remembered his initial meetings with Nimoy after he first landed the role of Captain Kirk’s future first officer. What started as a desire to get his blessing soon blossomed into an actual friendship, with the veteran actor becoming a father-figure to Quinto:

Working with Leonard was one thing, but getting to know him and forging the relationship that we did was an entirely different experience, and one that I never could have anticipated when I took over the role of Spock. Initially, I was coming at it all from a strictly creative standpoint. I wanted to know that I had his support and that I could utilize him as a resource and guide through the journey of discovering who this character is for me. But what I never imagined was how close we would become, and what a father figure he would be to me [...] The world is a better place for having had Leonard Nimoy in it, and I am a better man to be sure.

Quinto also wrote about the final time he met with Nimoy, about six weeks before he passed away from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It seems that he was himself until the very end, still positive and still a man with an interest in just about everything:

The last time that I saw him, about a month and a half ago, he was a little more frail and less mobile than he had been previously. But his essence was as vibrant and vital as ever. Leonard was very open about his struggle with COPD, and I could see the toll that it was talking on him — but his spirit was indomitable, and he never let those struggles overshadow his joy for life. Dwelling on some of the scarier or sadder parts of his decline was never in his nature. So we sat and we talked for a few hours and it was delightful. We spoke of plans that we had, creative goals, the movies we had seen, politics. It was much like any of our meetings and conversations.

Nimoy will be profoundly missed, but the character of Spock has found a tremendous caretaker in Quinto, who has been a consistent highlight in the new movies. It’s comforting to know that the two Spocks shared a bond and that the passing of this particular torch is far more than a mere formality. You should read the whole thing, but make sure you have a box of tissues on hand.

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