While Hollywood prepares for its biggest night in advance of the 89th Academy Awards, a sense of shock and sadness is being felt after the passing of actor Bill Paxton, who died Saturday following complications from surgery.
In the wake of the sad news, several of Paxton’s friends, colleagues and admirers took to social media to honour the star of such films as “Aliens”, “Apollo 13” and “Titanic”, and for critically acclaimed television roles in HBO’s “Big Love” and the miniseries “Hatfields & McCoys”.
James Cameron, who directed Paxton in “Terminator”, “Aliens”, “True Lies” and “Titanic”, issued a heartfelt statement addressing the actor’s passing.
“I’ve been reeling from this for the past half hour, trying to wrap my mind and heart around it,” writes Cameron. “Bill leaves such a void. 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”
Continues Cameron: “What followed was 36 years of making films together, helping develop each other’s projects, going on scuba diving trips together, watching each other’s 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. Bill wrote beautiful heartfelt and thoughtful letters, an anachronism in this age of digital shorthand. He took good care of his relationships with people, always caring and present for others. He was a good man, a great actor, and a creative dynamo. 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.”
Cameron’s statement concludes: “The world is a lesser place for his passing, and I will profoundly miss him.”
Meanwhile, numerous stars have taken to social media to pay tribute to Paxton, ranging from Tom Hanks to William Shatner to Jason Priestley to Rob Lowe, who wrote that he’s “devastated by the sudden loss of my close friend and one of the finest actors in the business.”
Here’s a sampling of the outpouring of grief over Paxton’s passing: