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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 March 2008, 17:57 GMT
Director Anthony Minghella dies
Anthony Minghella
Anthony Minghella won an Oscar for directing The English Patient

British film director and writer Anthony Minghella has died aged 54.

Minghella's films included The English Patient - which earned him an Oscar for best director in 1997 - as well as Truly, Madly, Deeply and Cold Mountain.

He suffered a haemorrhage in London days after having surgery for cancer of the tonsils and neck, his US agent Leslee Dart said.

Jude Law, who worked with Minghella on three films, said he was "deeply shocked and saddened" at the news.

The actor described him as "a brilliantly talented writer and director" and "a sweet, warm, bright and funny man".

He was one of Britain's greatest creative talents, one of our finest screen writers and directors
Gordon Brown

Law's co-star in The Talented Mr Ripley, Gwyneth Paltrow, said Minghella was "a wonderful man" who was "so interested in art and making the world better for art".

Actor Kevin Spacey praised the director as "one of the greats".

Film producer and friend Lord Puttnam said the industry would be "very shocked" to lose their "very well-loved" colleague.

"He started as a writer, he was not a stylist as a director," he said. "He saw himself as a storyteller and his films were very well told, beautifully made and beautifully acted."

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who was directed by Minghella in a Labour Party broadcast before the 2005 General Election, also paid tribute.

Jude Law in Cold Mountain
Cold Mountain (2003 - pictured)
The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)
The English Patient (1996)
Truly, Madly, Deeply (1991)
He said: "He was one of Britain's greatest creative talents, one of our finest screen writers and directors, a great champion of the British film industry and expert on literature and opera."

Minghella had an operation for cancer last week, his representatives said.

Leslee Dart said: "The surgery had gone well and they were very optimistic. But he developed a haemorrhage last night and they were not able to stop it."

He died at about 0500 GMT on Tuesday at the Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith, west London.

Minghella's other roles included being chairman of the British Film Institute.

He had also directed a TV episode of book The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

A 90-minute pilot, directed by Minghella and co-written with Richard Curtis, is due to be broadcast on BBC One on Easter Sunday.

Anthony Minghella at the Baftas 1997
Minghella received nine Bafta and three Oscar nominations
BBC film correspondent Tom Brook, speaking in New York, said Minghella was held in "very high regard by the artistic community".

"He's certainly one of the top directors of his generation in Britain and, in Hollywood he was definitely held in high esteem," he said.

Minghella began his career as a writer with his early radio plays winning several awards.

He made his directorial debut in Truly, Madly, Deeply, in 1991.

He went on to write and direct film adaptations of Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient and Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr Ripley.

In 1999, he was nominated for an Oscar for writing The Talented Mr Ripley screenplay.

He also directed 2003's Cold Mountain, starring Law, Kidman and Renee Zellweger, who won the best supporting actress Oscar for the film.

In 2005, Minghella directed his first opera, an English National Opera (ENO) production of Madama Butterfly.

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