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'Titanic' actor Bill Paxton dead at 61

Rob Tornoe

Updated: Sunday, February 26, 2017, 10:51 AM

Bill Paxton, seen here arriving at a party in August of 2016. The longtime actor and TV star has died due to complications from surgery. He was 61.

Bill Paxton, the versatile actor who appeared in films including “Aliens” and “Titanic” and starred on TV in “Big Love,” has died following complications from surgery. He was 61.

> 'Losing him is a gutpunch': Tributes from Hollywood pour in for Bill Paxton

Paxton’s family released a statement Sunday morning:

“It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery. A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker. Bill’s passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable. We ask to please respect the family’s wish for privacy as they mourn the loss of their adored husband and father.”

The Texas native was born in 1955, and started work in the film industry when he was 18 as a set dresser for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures. After landing a small role in the 1981 comedy “Stripes,” Paxton began landing roles in blockbusters like “Terminator” and “Aliens,” and his big break came when he landed the lead role in the critically acclaimed “One False Move.”

Paxton is best knows for his turn as Morgan Earp in “Tombstone,” astronaut Fred Haise in “Apollo 13” and treasure hunter Brock Lovett in “Titanic.” He was also the star in the 1996 blockbuster “Twister," and had a popular turn as a slimy car salesman opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in James Cameron's 1994 hit "True Lies."

"I've been reeling from this for the past half hour, trying to wrap my mind and heart around it," Cameron said in a statement. "I hope that amid the gaudy din of Oscar night, people will take a moment to remember this wonderful man, not just for all the hours of joy he brought to us with his vivid screen presence, but for the great human that he was."

He most recently had a supporting role in the sci-fi thriller "Edge of Tomorrow," alongside Tom Cruise.

"Tom was super supportive," Paxton told Entertainment Weekly. "I remember him saying, 'You’re killing this part!' I said, 'I haven't done anything yet.' He goes, 'You’re killing it!'"

Paxton earned critical acclaim for his directorial debut in the 2001 horror film “Frailty,” which he starred in alongside McConaughey and Powers Boothe. In a four-star review, former Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert wrote, “Perhaps only a first-time director, an actor who does not depend on directing for his next job, would have had the nerve to make this movie. It is uncompromised.”

Paxton was also an accomplished television actor. He was nominated for an Emmy for his role as Randolph "Randall" McCoy in the History Channel miniseries “Hatfields & McCoys.” He also received three Golden Globe nominations for his lead role as polygamist Bill Henrickson in HBO’s “Big Love.”

His most recent television role, as “morally ambiguous” cop Frank Rourke in the CBS drama “Training Day,” just premiered earlier this month.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

Rob Tornoe

Read full story: 'Titanic' actor Bill Paxton dead at 61

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