Oscar-nominated actor Pete Postlethwaite has died aged 64.
Journalist and friend Andrew Richardson said Postlethwaite passed away peacefully in hospital in Shropshire on Sunday following a lengthy illness.
The actor had continued to work until recent months despite receiving treatment for cancer.
Postlethwaite, who was made an OBE in the 2004 New Year Honours List, was previously described by Hollywood director Steven Spielberg as "the best actor in the world". They worked together on The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Amistad.
In response to the praise, Postlethwaite joked: "I'm sure what Spielberg actually said was, 'the thing about Pete is that he thinks he's the best actor in the world'."
Postlethwaite received his Oscar nomination for his performance as Guiseppe Conlon in the 1993 film In The Name Of The Father, about the wrongful convictions of the so-called Guildford Four for an IRA bomb attack.
His other films included Brassed Off, The Usual Suspects, The Shipping News, Inception, Romeo & Juliet and The Town.
Born in Warrington, he had originally planned to be a priest. He later became a teacher but eventually followed his passion for the stage, beginning his career at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool where he rubbed shoulders with such future stars as Bill Nighy, Julie Walters, Alan Bleasdale, Jonathan Pryce, Matthew Kelly and Anthony Sher.
Postlethwaite, who lived in rural Shropshire near the Welsh border, was treated at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
He recently paid tribute to the staff there, telling the Shropshire Star: "They have been wonderful and I am grateful to them. I cannot thank them enough for everything that they have done for me."