While reading The Onion today, I noticed this story entitled "Tree Featured In 'The Deer Hunter' Dies" and obviously was intrigued. The Onion is pretty much my favorite news source considering it's quite witty.
This tree, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is one of the most publicized Hemlocks ever. The tree was planted in 1722, had been featured in 40 films and died of a mixture of lightening and adelgid beetles.
"[The tree] was a consummate professional that truly lived for its work," said filmmaker and friend Michael Mann, who cast the 98-foot-tall plant in its acclaimed role as an Adirondack black spruce in the background of 1992's The Last Of The Mohicans. "On Mohicans we would sometimes do 30 or 40 takes, and each time it gave us something totally different and interesting. This is a sad day for cinema."
Just one of the quotes from the article, which I suggest you read more of.