Former James Bond star Sir Roger Moore has died in Switzerland at the age of 89 after a short battle with cancer, his family has announced.
A message shared on the actor’s official Twitter account read: “With the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated.”
The statement continued: “It is with a heavy heart that we must announce our loving father, Sir Roger Moore, has passed away today in Switzerland after a short but brave battle with cancer.
“The love with which he was surrounded in his final days was so great it cannot be quantified in words alone.”
With the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated. pic.twitter.com/6dhiA6dnVg
— Sir Roger Moore (@sirrogermoore) 23 May 2017
Sir Roger was the longest-serving actor to play the womanising MI6 agent, having portrayed 007 in seven films.
Last year during a question-and-answer session at London’s Southbank Centre, he admitted that, despite winning the coveted role of the martini-swirling spy, one part he wished he had landed was Lawrence of Arabia.
He said: “I remember Bob Baker and I going to see Lawrence of Arabia and coming out both being very depressed and saying ’We might as well give up the business’, because they had made the best movie that had ever been made.”
Tributes to Sir Roger have been led by The James Bond International Fan Club, which has said “nobody did Bond better”.
A statement from the club read: “Sir Roger will always be remembered as the most enduring actor to play 007 and as a great ambassador for the franchise.
“From his announcement as Sean Connery’s replacement in August 1972 to his retirement in December 1985, he thrilled and charmed a whole new generation of Bond fans and redefined the series.”
They said that in his seven films, “he made James Bond his own”.
“Arguably the greatest purveyor of Cool Britannia before the term had been invented, he kept the British end up as his reign as 007 saw Bond through the 1977 Silver Jubilee and national resurgence in the 1980s.
“He was the Bond not only of his generation but the Daniel Craig generation by keeping Ian Fleming’s gentleman spy alive when people thought his best days were over.
“We are all sad at the passing of a great British icon. Nobody did Bond better.”