Renowned theatre director Steven Pimlott has died of lung cancer at the age of 52.
Steven Pimlott was rehearsing The Rose Tattoo
He died at home on Wednesday surrounded by his family.
Pimlott's work ranged from West End musicals like Bombay Dreams to Hamlet and Julius Caesar at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).
He had been suffering from cancer for some time but it was hoped he was recovering. He was due to direct a play at the National Theatre in March.
Pimlott had begun rehearsals on Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tattoo, which stars Zoe Wanamaker and runs from 21 March to 12 April.
Director of the National Theatre, Nicholas Hytner, will now take over.
Pimlott, who was made an OBE last month, was the artistic director of the Chichester Festival Theatre from 2002 to 2005.
"Steven was an extraordinary man, a director of great energy, intellect and warmth," said the festival's current artistic director Jonathan Church.
"Actors loved working with him, knowing they were completely safe in his hands, whilst also knowing he would encourage them to perform to the very limits of their abilities. He will be greatly missed by the theatrical community," he added.
Pimlott's other credentials include the Olivier award-winning musical Sunday In The Park With George.
He also directed Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in London, Canada, Australia and the US, and directed Bombay Dreams on Broadway.
He directed numerous operas for both the English National Opera and the Royal Opera and was an associate director at the RSC between 1996 and 2002.
"Steven's footprint on British theatre was and is as wide as anybody's," said RSC artistic director Michael Boyd.
"His style ranged from extravagant flamboyance to high European elegance, to stripped down purity.
"His storytelling was always blazingly clear, intelligent and human... He leaves many friends behind at the RSC who will miss him dearly."