He who was much beloved. Bill Paxton died at the age of 61 after suffering a stroke post-heart surgery on Saturday, February 25, and many of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Tom Hanks and Arnold Schwarzenegger, took to social media to express their condolences.
“It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery,” a representative for the family told Us in a statement. “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.”
Paxton, who was perhaps best known for his roles in classic films like 1986’s Aliens and 1997’s Titanic, got his big break in 1985 with the film Weird Science, alongside Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith and Kelly LeBrock.
The versatile actor also starred in HBO drama Big Love, which aired from 2006 to 2011, and received an Emmy nomination for his role in the 2012 History Channel miniseries Hatfields & McCoys. He most recently starred in new CBS series Training Day, which premiered on Thursday, February 2. His Aliens director, James Cameron, issued a heartfelt statement following Paxton's passing.
"I've been reeling from this for the past half hour, trying to wrap my mind and heart around it. Bill leaves such a void," Cameron wrote in a statement to Vanity Fair. "He and I were close friends for 36 years, since we met on the set of a Roger Corman ultra-low budget movie. He came in to work on set, and I slapped a paint brush in his hand and pointed to a wall, saying 'Paint that!' We quickly recognized the creative spark in each other and became fast friends. What followed was 36 years of making films together, helping develop each others' projects, going on scuba diving trips together, watching each others' kids growing up, even diving the Titanic wreck together in Russian subs. It was a friendship of laughter, adventure, love of cinema, and mutual respect. ... 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. The world is a lesser place for his passing, and I will profoundly miss him."
News of Paxton’s death caused an outpouring of tweets in memory of the actor on social media.
“Crushing. #RIPBillPaxton A gr8 talent & spirit,” Paxton’s Apollo 13 director Ron Howard tweeted. “His passion contributed so much 2 #Apollo13 & all his wrk. We'll miss the hell out of U Bill.”
Bill Paxton was, simply, a wonderful man. A wonderful man... Hanx.— Tom Hanks (@tomhanks) February 26, 2017
Bill Paxton was notoriously one of the nicest people in the industry. He also gave us some of the all-time most iconic movie moments.— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) February 26, 2017
Broken hearted our dearest Bill Paxton has passed - the 1st leading man I had the honor to write for. His trust and joy inspired me to grow.— Dustin Lance Black (@DLanceBlack) February 26, 2017
You were a great friend to me, Bill. AND one of the finest actors to share a set with. Sending so much love to Bill Paxton's family.— Charlize Theron (@CharlizeAfrica) February 26, 2017
Bill Paxton was hands down one of the greatest guys that I have ever met. I feel lucky to have called him my friend. Bill, I love you. RIP.— Aaron Paul (@aaronpaul_8) February 26, 2017
I am stunned & saddened at the passing of Bill Paxton. I just worked with him recently. A warm and beautiful soul and a talented actor. RIP— Lou Diamond Phillips (@LouDPhillips) February 26, 2017
Devastated by the sudden loss of my close friend and one of the finest actors in the business, Bill Paxton. Renaissance man, raconteur and— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) February 26, 2017
uniquely American national treasure. His filmography speaks for itself. His friendship was a blessing. My love to Bunny, James and Lydia.— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) February 26, 2017
In his memory, on this Oscar Sunday, watch "One False Move" or "A Simple Plan" to see this lovely leading man, at his finest.— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) February 26, 2017
Bill Paxton could play any role, but he was best at being Bill - a great human being with a huge heart. My thoughts are with his family.— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) February 26, 2017
Want stories like these delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter!