British actor Ian Holm has died at the age of 88, according to a statement from his agent.
Holm had a long and varied acting career that saw him cast as a slew of characters, including Bilbo Baggins in the “Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy, Ash in Ridley Scott’s “Alien” and athletics coach Sam Mussabini in the 1981 movie “Chariots of Fire,” a performance for which he was nominated for an Oscar.
Born in Essex, southeast England, in 1931, Holm attended the RADA drama school in London.
After forging a successful career on the stage, he moved into television and later movie acting.
Holm also played Father Vito Cornelius in “The Fifth Element” (1997) and Professor Fitz in “The Aviator” (2004).
In 1989, he was named Commander of the British Empire (CBE) and in 1998 he was knighted for services to drama.
Holm died peacefully in hospital Friday morning after a Parkinson’s-related illness, with his family and carer at his bedside, his agent, Alex Irwin, said.
“His portrayal of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings trilogies ensured the magic of his craft could be shared by all generations,” Irwin said in a statement.
“He was a genius of stage and screen, winning multiple awards, and loved by directors, audiences and his colleagues alike. His sparkling wit always accompanied a mischievous twinkle in his eye.
“Charming, kind and ferociously talented, we will miss him hugely.”
Holm’s death sparked a wave of tributes online.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) tweeted its respects.
“We are very sorry to hear of the death of Ian Holm,” read the tweet.
And writer and director Edgar Wright thanked Holm for his great performances.
“RIP Ian Holm, a genius actor who brought considerable presence to parts funny, heartbreaking & terrifying,” Wright wrote on Twitter.