LEGENDARY director Michael Apted has died aged 79.
The British filmmaker was known for the Up series of documentaries as well as directing Coal Miner's Daughter, Gorillas In The Mist and James Bond film The World Is Not Enough.
His tragic passing was confirmed today by his agency, although no further details have been shared.
Thomas Schlamme, the president of the Directors Guild of America, paid tribute to him in a statement.
"Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the passing of esteemed director, longtime DGA leader and my friend Michael Apted.
"His legacy will forever be woven into the fabric of cinema and our Guild.
"A fearless visionary as a director and unparalleled guild leader, Michael saw the trajectory of things when others didn't and we were all beneficiaries of his wisdom and lifelong dedication."
ITV managing director Kevin Lygo paid tribute to Michael Apted in a statement.
"At ITV, we are deeply saddened by the news that Michael Apted has passed away," he said.
"Michael's long and distinguished career began and ended with ITV, spanning six decades, which is in itself truly remarkable.
"What that association produced was truly unique.
"The Up series demonstrated the possibilities of television at its finest in its ambition and its capacity to hold up a mirror to society and engage with and entertain people while enriching our perspective on the human condition.
"The influence of Michael's contribution to film and programme-making continues to be felt and he will be sadly missed."
The producers of the James Bond film franchise paid tribute to Michael Apted's ability to move "effortlessly and successfully between all genres".
A Twitter post signed by Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said: "It is with very heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of Michael Apted.
"He was a director of enormous talent and range and unique in his ability to move effortlessly and successfully between all genres.
"He was beloved by all those who worked with him.
"We loved working with him on The World Is Not Enough and send our love and support to his family, friends and colleagues."
The director made his debut in the 70s, directing WW2 drama The Triple Echo, starring Oliver Reed and Glenda Jackson.
However, his first major success came a decade later with The Coal Miner's Daughter – which was nominated for seven Oscars.
He went on to direct Gorillas in the Mist, starring Sigourney Weaver – which was nominated for five Oscars.
His portfolio features an impressive string of female-led films, starring the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster.
In a 2017 interview Michael said: "What I like about women at the center of films is that I find that a woman character brings a lot of emotion to a story, whatever a story is.
"Whether it’s a woman with gorillas or a country music singer, a woman’s emotional life – at least on the surface – is more dramatic than a man’s.”
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