Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme has died at the age of 73.
The filmmaker, who won an Academy Award for The Silence Of The Lambs in 1991, had been battling oesophageal cancer.
His publicist told the Press Association: “Sadly, I can confirm that Jonathan passed away early this morning in his Manhattan apartment, surrounded by his wife, Joanne Howard, and three children.
“He died from complications from oesophageal cancer. and is survived by his children Ramona, age 29, and her husband James Molloy, Brooklyn, age 26, and Jos, age 21.
“There will be a private family funeral. Any possible further plans will be announced later. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to Americans For Immigrant Justice in Miami.”
Demme also directed Philadelphia and Rachel Getting Married, as well as the 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate and multiple music documentaries.
His most recent project was a Justin Timberlake concert film, Justin Timberlake And The Tennessee Kids, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
Justin hailed Demme as a “genius” and said the director’s landmark 1984 concert movie, Stop Making Sense featuring Talking Heads, changed the way he wanted to see live music.
The Silence Of The Lambs was the third film in history to win Academy Awards in all the top five categories of best picture, actor, actress, director and adapted screenplay, and following its success Demme made Philadelphia starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington – one of the first Hollywood films to tackle the Aids crisis.
Tom, who won an Oscar for his performance in Philadelphia, told the Press Association: “Jonathan taught us how big a heart a person can have, and how it will guide how we live and what we do for a living.
He was the grandest of men.”
Christine Lahti, who starred in his film Swing Shift opposite Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, said on Twitter:
RIP dearest Jonathan Demme. The world lost one of its purest, most loving and talented souls today. My heart is broken. I love you.
— Christine Lahti (@ChristineALahti) April 26, 2017
Director Ron Howard also paid tribute writing: