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Ron Howard and Thandie Newton honour Jonathan Demme online

The late moviemaker had been battling cancer since 2010.

Filmmaker Ron Howard and actress Thandie Newton are leading the tributes to director Jonathan Demme following his death on Wednesday (26Apr17).

The Oscar winner, known for his work on movie classics The Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia, lost his battle with esophageal cancer in his native New York, aged 73.

Tributes have quickly started pouring in, and Howard was among the first to lament the loss of his Hollywood peer on Twitter.

"Jonathan Demme was a great artist, humanitarian, activist & a warm encouraging colleague," he wrote. "I've known very few like him. He will be missed".

British actress Thandie, who worked with Demme on 1998 horror film Beloved and the 2002 remake of The Truth About Charlie, tweeted, "Deeply saddened by the passing of the most brilliant man - director, father, friend, activist. Devastating to let him go."

Meanwhile, Demme's Married to the Mob leading man Alec Baldwin mourned: "Rest In Peace, JD...," and Colin Hanks, who appeared alongside his dad Tom in the 1996 comedy That Thing You Do! which Demme produced, wrote: "Intelligent, talented, but above all, kind. Such an inspiration - Such a loss".

And Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, who met the late filmmaker while promoting his Oscar-winning drama, declared, "My man Demme was the kindest, most generous. A MASSIVE soul. He lived in love. And rests in peace. Not a kinder soul has ever lived."

Fellow filmmaker and fan Edgar Wright lamented: "Very sad to hear of the passing of the great Jonathan Demme. Admired his movies, his documentaries, his concert films. He could do anything," and Eli Roth added, "Just heard about Jonathan Demme. He could literally do anything and did it all masterfully. Never knew him but everyone loved him. Sad news."

Bryan Fuller, who created the Hannibal TV series inspired by The Silence of the Lambs, simply posted: "Rest in peace, Mr. Demme," as director Kevin Smith reacted in shock: "Dear God, no! I loved #JonathanDemme! He was my bridge to the Talking Heads, Harris & Hannibal, New Order and honest cinematic storytelling."

Other stars who have remembered Demme on social media include Daryl Hannah, Reese Witherspoon, Elijah Wood, Michael McKean, Denis Leary, and Rosie O'Donnell, who tweeted, "artist, friend, neighbor. i will miss ur brilliance jonathan demme (sic)."

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