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Hollywood giant, sex symbol & fiery Scot... world says farewell to Sean Connery

Acting world plunged into mourning after sudden death of film icon

Sean Connery

Daniel Craig has hailed his fellow James Bond actor Sir Sean Connery as "one of the true greats of cinema", adding he hopes that "wherever he is there's a golf course".

The Scottish actor died at the age of 90 in his sleep while in Nassau in the Bahamas, where much of Thunderball was filmed.

Craig, who is due to appear as Bond for the final time in the delayed No Time To Die, shared a tribute via the official Bond Twitter account.

The 52-year-old said: "It is with such sadness that I heard of the passing of one of the true greats of cinema.

"Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more.

"He defined an era and a style. The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in megawatts.

"He helped create the modern blockbuster. He will continue to influence actors and film-makers alike for years to come.

"My thoughts are with his family and loved ones. Wherever he is, I hope there is a golf course."

Portadown-born TV presenter Gloria Hunniford, who met Sean Connery several times and interviewed him for a Sunday TV special in 1984, last night paid tribute to the star.

She told Sunday Life: "He had a magic about him and always had time for you. Sean Connery was really admired by everyone for everything he portrayed.

"He was a real gentleman. In my opinion, he was the best Bond."

A statement from Sir Sean's publicist said: "His wife Micheline and his two sons Jason and Stephane have confirmed that he died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family. There will be a private ceremony followed by a memorial yet to be planned once the virus has ended."

His son Jason told the BBC that his father died peacefully in his sleep, having been "unwell for some time".

He added that his father "had many of his family who could be in the Bahamas around him" when he died.

He said: "We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time.

"A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor."

Sir Sean was the first to bring the role of 007 to the big screen and he appeared in seven of the spy thrillers between 1962 and 1983.

His five-decade career also saw him win an Oscar, two Baftas and three Golden Globes.

His other notable films include Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, Highlander and The Hunt For Red October.

He was on a number of occasions voted by fans as the best actor to have played 007 in the franchise, beating Craig and Sir Roger Moore.

He was knighted in the 2000 New Year Honours for services to film drama. In August he celebrated his 90th birthday.

Born Thomas Sean Connery in Edinburgh on August 25, 1930, the actor left school at an early age and took his first job as a milkman.

At 16 he enlisted in the Royal Navy but was discharged three years later on medical grounds after suffering a stomach ulcer.

His first major step into acting came in 1957 when he secured a role in the British gangster film No Road Back.

However, it was his casting as Ian Fleming's fictional British secret agent James Bond in 1962's Dr No that catapulted him to stardom.

Sir Sean was reluctant to commit to a film series but filled the role until 1967's You Only Live Twice, when he quit after becoming tired by the repetitive plots.

He was enticed back after his successor George Lazenby failed to impress fans and critics.

In the 1980s his career was revived with The Untouchables, in which his performance as an Irish policeman won him an Academy Award for best supporting actor.

He won a new generation of fans with his compelling performance as the father of Harrison Ford's hero in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade.

From his home in the Bahamas, he remained a fervent supporter of Scottish independence.

In interviews in the run-up to the 2014 referendum, he claimed he might return to live in Scotland if it voted to leave the UK.

Connery was also a keen footballer and played for the Bonnyrigg Rose club as a young man.

Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, who starred alongside him in the 1999 film Entrapment, said she would "cherish every moment" she had spent with him.

Alongside a picture of them together on Instagram, she wrote: "Farewell my friend. I love you with all my heart."

Fawlty Towers star John Cleese described Sir Sean as a "wonderful man" with "immense talent".

Arnold Schwarzenegger also paid tribute, saying: "He was a legend, one of the greatest actors of all time. He provided endless entertainment for all of us and inspiration for me.

"I'm not just saying that because he was a bodybulder who placed in the Mr Universe contest. He was an icon. Thoughts with his family."

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Twitter: "I was heartbroken to learn of the passing of Sir Sean Connery. Our nation mourns one of her best-loved sons.

"Sean was born into a working-class family and through talent and sheer hard work became an international film icon and one of the world's most accomplished actors."

"He was a global legend but, first and foremost, a patriotic and proud Scot."

Sunday Life