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Wil Wheaton: 'I feel guilt for River Phoenix's death'

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Wil Wheaton in 'The Big Bang Theory'

© CBS

Wil Wheaton has admitted that he feels "a little bit of guilt" over the death of his Stand By Me co-star River Phoenix.

Phoenix died of a drug overdose at the age of 23 in 1993 outside the Viper Room nightclub in Hollywood.

Wheaton told ShortList: "Around the time River died I hadn't talked to him for years, so I carry a little bit of guilt.

"But we do what we can and enough time has elapsed now that when I watch [Stand By Me], I recall, with tremendous fondness, the experiences we had shooting it. But honestly, mostly I just enjoy the story."

The 1986 film's director Rob Reiner added: "It's so sad. Every time I see that scene when he disappears at the end of the movie, it's chilling.

"I never thought River was going to be the one who would struggle - he was a good kid and he was so talented. He would've been [like] Johnny Depp or Leonardo DiCaprio. It was such a tragic loss."

> Leonardo DiCaprio: 'River Phoenix was my hero'
> Ledger, Phoenix warned DiCaprio off drugs

Watch the Stand By Me trailer below:

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