The BBC said the Tony Award-winning stage star was to read Caliban's speech from William Shakespeare's play "The Tempest" at the Olympic ceremony July 27. However, he dropped out of the event because he is mourning the Sunday death of filmmaker Nataasha van Kampen, the daughter of his wife, composer Claire van Kampen, whom Rylance married in 1992.
Rylance said in a statement she died "of unsuspected natural causes," but gave no further details regarding the circumstances of her death.
"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," Rylance said in the statement. "The family would ask that their privacy is respected at this sad and difficult time."
Nataasha van Kampen had worked as a production designer on commercials and music videos before directing her first short film "Nocturne" in 2009. Rylance starred in the film.