The great actor Christopher Lee, star of numerous Hammer horrors and Bond viallain, has died at the age of 93.
The London-born actor is believed to have died in London on Sunday following admission to hospital for respiratory problems and heart failure.
Sir Christopher has an incredible film and television CV, particularly for a series of Hammer horrors playing Dracula, but also played Bond villain Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun (1974), while he also starred in the Lord of the Rings franchise as Saruman and the original Star Wars films.
Sir Christopher Lee (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
His agent declined to confirm the news, saying only that his family wished to make no comment. He never stopped working and only last year marked his 92nd birthday by releasing a heavy metal version of the Frank Sinatra classic My Way.
It was one of seven tracks on an album called Metal Knight he recorded with an Italian band called Rhapsody Of Fire.
Christopher Lee with his wife Birgit Kroencke (Joel Ryan/AP)
Two years ago he was honoured with a fellowship from the British Film Institute presented by his friend Johnny Depp. Depp, who has worked with Sir Christopher on several Tim Burton projects including Sleepy Hollow, sneaked into the awards ceremony to surprise his friend.
Sir Christopher has amassed more than 250 screen credits, including his vampire appearances, his role as sinister Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man and his collaborations with Burton.
He has often said that his title role in Jinnah, about the founder of Pakistan, is one of his favourite portrayals.
Celebrities and actors have been quick to lavish praise on Sir Christopher on social media.
Really sad to hear about the death of Christopher Lee, one of the greatest British actors and a master of the macabre pic.twitter.com/q5UUhc7xId
— Boris Johnson (@MayorofLondon) June 11, 2015
A true legend has passed. Sir Christopher Lee. pic.twitter.com/MqVqxXtqda
— Paddy Considine (@PaddyConsidine) June 11, 2015
#christopherlee sad to hear he has passed away. What a run he had though. Some of the most famous roles in history under his belt. Legend
— Michael Parr (@MikeParrActor) June 11, 2015
Very upset to learn that Sir Christopher Lee has passed away. An amazing gentleman who brought us so many iconic roles. He will be missed.
— Reece Shearsmith (@ReeceShearsmith) June 11, 2015
@wossy: So sad to hear that Sir Christopher Lee has died. A great actor, a great star, a surprisingly good singer and a lovely lovely man.
— Jonathan Ross (@wossy) June 11, 2015
More to follow.