Updated: 16th December 2017

Bill Paxton, star of Aliens, Titanic and Apollo 13, dies at 61

Actor known for hits including James Cameron blockbusters dies after complications following heart surgery, according to statement from family

The actor Bill Paxton has died at the age of 61.

The star of films including Aliens, Titanic and Apollo 13 died after complications from heart surgery, according to a statement released by his family.

It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery, the statement said.

A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker.

Bills passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable. We ask to please respect the familys wish for privacy as they mourn the loss of their adored husband and father.

As an eight-year-old, Paxton was in the crowd when John F Kennedy emerged from his hotel on the morning of his assassination. Photographs of him being lifted above the crowd are on display at a museum in Texas. He later narrated a documentary about the day for the National Geographic channel and produced the film Parkland, set during the presidents final day. I was probably about 20 feet in front of him, he said in an interview. His hair was red and he was in a blue suit and he couldnt have been more charming.

The actors first notable performance was in The Terminator in 1984 and was swiftly followed up with roles in Weird Science, Aliens and Near Dark. He developed a close working relationship with the director James Cameron, also starring in True Lies and Titanic. Were just good friends, and hes been incredibly loyal to me, Paxton said in a 1998 interview. I guess I always fantasized about hooking up with a director and doing a series of films with him. You think of the great actor/director teams, like Scorsese and De Niro

In a statement sent to Vanity Fair, Cameron said: The world is a lesser place for his passing. He went on: I hope that amid the gaudy din of Oscar night, people will take a moment to remember this wonderful man, not just for all the hours of joy he brought to us with his vivid screen presence, but for the great human that he was.

Bill
Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt in 1996 hit Twister. Photograph: Allstar/Universal Pictures

The actor starred in a number of other big hits in the 90s, including Twister, Apollo 13 and Tombstone. He was also known for his small screen work, scoring three Golden Globe nominations for his role in HBOs drama Big Love.

Paxtons directorial debut came in 2001 with the dark thriller Frailty, which starred himself and Matthew McConaughey. He also directed Shia LaBeouf in the golfing drama The Greatest Game Ever Played in 2005.

Paxton was most recently seen in the CBS adaptation of the hit movie Training Day and films including Nightcrawler, Million Dollar Arm and Edge of Tomorrow. His final big-screen role will be in the thriller The Circle, alongside Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, who tweeted today to call Paxton a wonderful man.

Ive had a career that is kind of under the radar, but it sure is varied, and Ive been so blessed to be able to get paid to do something I love to do, Paxton once said.

Hollywood tributes have been pouring in on Twitter, including from Arnold Schwarzenegger, William Shatner and Elijah Wood.

Arnold (@Schwarzenegger)

Bill Paxton could play any role, but he was best at being Bill – a great human being with a huge heart. My thoughts are with his family.

February 26, 2017

Elijah Wood (@elijahwood)

What a lovely, warm and kind human. So sad to hear of Bill Paxton’s passing.

February 26, 2017

edgarwright (@edgarwright)

I am so saddened by Bill Paxton’s passing. Had the pleasure of meeting him a few times in recent years and he was truly the loveliest guy.

February 26, 2017

William Shatner (@WilliamShatner)

Condolences to the family of Bill Paxton. I just heard the news.

February 26, 2017

Rob Lowe (@RobLowe)

Devastated by the sudden loss of my close friend and one of the finest actors in the business, Bill Paxton. Renaissance man, raconteur and

February 26, 2017

Aaron Paul (@aaronpaul_8)

Bill Paxton was hands down one of the greatest guys that I have ever met. I feel lucky to have called him my friend. Bill, I love you. RIP.

February 26, 2017

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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