Mark Rylance has withdrawn from the Olympics Opening Ceremony following the sudden death this week of his stepdaughter Nataasha van Kampen. However, the actor has released a statement saying that he will go ahead with his forthcoming return to Shakespeare's Globe to star in Richard III and Twelfth Night, and in the productions' subsequent West End transfer. 

Filmmaker Nataasha, the daughter of Rylance's composer partner Claire van Kampen and Chris van Kampen and sister of actress Juliet Rylance, died suddenly on Sunday 1 July 2012 at the age of 28.

Mark Rylance commented today: “Our beloved daughter and sister Nataasha passed away of unsuspected natural causes early on Sunday morning. Because of our bereavement, I have decided to withdraw from my commitment to the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics, but Claire and I will continue our work with the productions, Richard III and Twelfth Night at Shakespeare’s Globe and in the West End.”

Two-time Olivier winner Rylance had been due to recite Caliban's "isle is full of noises" speech from Shakespeare's The Tempest during the Opening Ceremony on 27 July, which is being directed by Danny Boyle.

He plays the title role in Richard III, which begins previews at the Globe on 14 July 2012. He'll then reprise his cross-dressing role as Olivia in Twelfth Night from 22 September at the Globe, alongside Stephen Fry as Malvolio. Claire van Kampen is composing the music for both productions, which will transfer to the West End's Apollo Theatre from 2 November.

A statement from the Globe reads: "The family would ask that their privacy is respected at this sad and difficult time."