LONDON: British actor Bob Hoskins, the gruff star of films including Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Long Good Friday, has died at the age of 71 following a bout of pneumonia, his family said Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
The short, stocky Londoner, who rose to fame in British gangster movies in the 1980s and went on to have a long career as a Hollywood character actor, died in hospital on Tuesday night.
Hoskins, who was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for playing a petty criminal in Mona Lisa in 1986, retired in 2012 after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Hollywood stars including Samuel L. Jackson and James Woods led tributes from the world of film, while his family spoke of their grief.
“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Bob,” said a statement from his wife Linda and the couple’s two children Rosa and Jack, as well as Hoskins’s two children from his first marriage, Alex and Sarah.
“Bob died peacefully at hospital last night surrounded by family, following a bout of pneumonia,” they said.
Hoskin’s face was carried on the front page of Thursday’s Independent newspaper and the Daily Telegraph’s headline paid tribute to a “great actor and even greater man”.
The Guardian called Hoskins “a man for the big role,” the Daily Mail a “pint-sized street fighter with a giant talent,” while the Sun signed off its editorial page by saying “RIP Bob, you were a one-off.”
Born in Suffolk in eastern England after his mother was evacuated from London during World War II, Hoskins left school at the age of 15 and worked in a series of odd jobs, including in a circus and as a lorry driver.