New Zealand is mourning the untimely death of local actor Kevin Smith, who died in a Beijing Hospital as the result of a fall. At the time of the accident he had been preparing to return home and begin preparation for Man Of War with Bruce Willis, a role many believed would be his entree into Hollywood.

Smith was best known for his role of Ares in the television series Xena: Warrior Princess but he appeared in many New Zealand features including Desperate Remedies, Channelling Baby and Jubilee.

"Kevin Smith was a wonderful New Zealand actor who was known not only for his enormous talent and amazing beauty, but also for his intelligence and self-effacing humour, said Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard.