Christian Bale, star of The Dark Knight Rises, came to a Colorado hospital Tuesday afternoon to meet with victims of the mass shooting at the film's premiere last week at an Aurora movie theater.
Bale also met with police officers, hospitals staffers and paramedics who were the first to help the victims.
He and his wife later paid their respects outside a growing memorial for the shooting victims.
An official with the Medical Center of Arizona said Bale spent nearly three hours visiting patients who were still being treated. Two other patients from Swedish Medical Center also met Bale, according to news reports.
Bale met with seven shooting victims.
A spokesperson with the studio that produced The Dark Knight Rises confirmed the movie's star's visit, and said he made the trip of his own volition.
"Mr. Bale is there as himself, not representing Warner Brothers," said an assistant for Susan Fleishman, executive vice president for Warner Brothers corporate communications.
Both Bale, clad in a dark-colored, short-sleeve shirt, and his wife, Sibi Blazic, appeared somber in pictures captured of them outside the memorial.
Bale plays the title character in the movie, as well as in the two previous movies in the series – Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
"The patients were really happy to meet Bale," Bill Voloch, interim president of the hospital told the Denver Post, "They are obviously big fans of his movies. They wanted to see Batman and were really pleased to see Bale."
A Facebook campaign asking Bale to visit Colorado went viral after the shooting Friday that killed 12 people and left 58 injured.
"I propose we should make enough noise asking Christian Bale to visit these kids in the hospital dressed in the real Batman outfit," said a Facebook post by Emily Sanchez, who the Chicago Sun-Times credited with starting the petition. "They need to know heroes can be real too, not just the bad guys."
The suspected shooter, 24-year-old James Eagan Holmes, made his first court appearance on Monday with hair colored bright orange.
Holmes reportedly referred to himself as "The Joker" when police arrested him in the parking lot behind the theater. The Joker is Batman's arch-nemesis in the second film of the Dark Knight series.
Bale's visit lifted the spirits of those who were injured by the rampage, Voloch said.
"We hope it was therapeutic for them, and all the staff really appreciated him coming," he told the Post.
Voloch said Bale indicated to hospital officials that he only wanted to visit the victims and the police, and asked that the media not be notified.
Word leaked about Bale's visit after pictures were posted to Twitter and Facebook by some of those inside the hospital.
The actor posed for pictures with one of the victims, Carey Rottman, 27, who was shot in the leg during the attack and is recovering in the hospital.
'Wow!!! Thank you so much for the visit Christian!! What a great guy! Still in shock!,' wrote Rottman on his Facebook page where he shared photos.
Bale and other people associated with the film released public statements on Saturday in support of the victims.
"Words cannot express the horror that I feel," Bale said in his statement. "I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them."
Copyright 2012 KCTV5 and Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
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