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Snakes on a Plane director David R Ellis dies aged 60

The former stunt man was found dead in a hotel room in Johannesburg

Snakes on a Plane director David R Ellis has died in South Africa at the age of 60.

The death of the American director, who enjoyed a successful career as an actor and stuntman before going behind the camera, was confirmed yesterday by his manager.

His body was found in a hotel room in Johannesburg where he had been filming Kite. A cause of death has not yet been disclosed.

Ellis’ 2006 action thriller Snakes on a Plane generated a cult following. His other directorial titles include Final Destination 2, Homeward Bound 2: Lost in San Francisco, Shark Night 3D and 2009 film The Final Destination.

He began his career as a child actor in Hollywood later making the switch to stunts following a career as a junior pro surfer. The Californian-born film-maker’s first role as stunt co-ordinator was on 1978 horror Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Tributes have been paid to Ellis on Twitter. Samuel L Jackson wrote: “So sad to hear of David R Ellis passing! So talented, so kind, such a Good Friend. He'll be missed. Gone too soon!”

Snakes on a Plane actress Sunny Mabrey described him as “a truly awesome dude”; while Canadian actress AJ Cook said he was “such as positive, passionate man”.