Tony Scott, the director behind a raft of action blockbusters including Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop II, has leapt to his death from a harbour bridge in Los Angeles, shocking Hollywood.
The American broadcaster ABC News reported last night that the British-born director and producer had been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer.
Born in North Shields, Mr Scott was the brother of the director Ridley Scott. He was seen by several witnesses jumping from a bridge spanning Los Angeles harbour at about 12.30pm on Sunday. His body was retrieved from the water by police divers a few hours later.
The witnesses said they saw Mr Scott, who was 68, stopping his car in the middle of the bridge, scaling a high fence and then throwing himself off apparently without any hesitation. The Los Angeles Coroner's Office confirmed that his death was being treated as a suicide.
Hollywood A-listers paid tribute to the man noted for his fast-paced editing style and for hits with Top Gun, Days of Thunder, Crimson Tide, True Romance and Enemy of the State. Actor Adam Goldberg, who worked with Scott on the film Deja Vu, said: "Tony Scott was one of the, if not the, warmest and most generous directors for whom I've ever worked. I'll miss you man."
The actress Keira Knightley, who starred in his 2005 film Domino, called him "one of the most extraordinary, imaginative men I ever worked with". The Top Gun actor Val Kilmer said: "RIP Tony. You were the kindest film director I ever worked for. You will be missed." Director Ron Howard said: "No more Tony Scott movies. Tragic day."
Earlier this year, Mr Scott teamed up with his brother Ridley to produce the anticipated Alien prequel, Prometheus. Together they founded a production company together called Scott Free Productions. Tony Scott's repertoire also stretched into countless commercials for television as well as the development of TV dramas including the The Good Wife and Numb3rs.
Of the two brothers, it was Ridley, whose credits include Alien and Gladiator, who received greater critical acclaim, including nods from the Oscars.
Tony, who specialised in high-grossing, high-octane films such as his 2000 hit Unstoppable, was never nominated.
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