The acclaimed Scottish actor, who skyrocketed to fame for his iconic role as James Bond in seven of the franchise’s movies, died overnight in his sleep, his family confirmed to Fox News in a statement via his rep. He was 90.
“He died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family,” Connery’s rep told Fox News on behalf of his wife, Micheline Roquebrune, and his two sons, Jason and Stephane.
His friends in Hollywood quickly reacted to the news, reflecting on the legacy he’s left behind.
Actor Sam Neill, one of Connery’s co-stars in the 1990 movie, “The Hunt for Red October,” remembered him on Twitter.
“Every day on set with #SeanConnery was an object lesson in how to act on screen. But all that charisma and power- that was utterly unique to Sean,” Neill wrote. “RIP that great man , that great actor .”
Hugh Jackman called Connery a “legend.”
“I grew up idolizing #SeanConnery. A legend on screen, and off. Rest In Peace,” Jackman, 52, tweeted.
Salma Hayek took to her Instagram early Saturday to pay tribute.
“It saddens me that today the legendary Sean Connery passed away. At least he lived to be 90. My heart goes out to his close ones. May he rest in peace 🙏🏻,” she captioned a black-and-white photo of the actor smiling.
Bond movie producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli released a statement Saturday via the James Bond official Twitter account.
“We are devastated by the news of the passing of Sir Sean Connery. He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words — ‘The name’s Bond … James Bond’ — he revolutionised the world with his gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent,” said the producers. “He is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series and we shall be forever grateful to him.”
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also reacted to the news in a lengthy Twitter thread, writing that the nation is in mourning of its “best loved sons.”
“Sean was born into a working class Edinburgh family and through talent & sheer hard work, became an international film icon and one of the world’s most accomplished actors,” Sturgeon’s thread begins.
She added: “Sean will be remembered best as James Bond – the classic 007 – but his roles were many & varied. He was a global legend but, first and foremost, a patriotic and proud Scot – his towering presence at the opening of @ScotParl in 1999 showed his love for the country of his birth. Sean was a lifelong advocate of an independent Scotland and those of us who share that belief owe him a great debt of gratitude.
“It was a privilege to have known Sean. When I last spoke to him it was clear even then that his health was failing – but the voice, the spirit and the passion that we all loved so well were still there. I will miss him. Scotland will miss him. The world will miss him,” she said, concluding with condolences to his wife, Micheline Roquebrune and his two sons.
British filmmakker Edgar Wright spoke of Connery’s “charisma” in a series of tweets.
“It says something for the extraordinary charisma of this Edinburgh lad to have created the most iconic character in film & then, rather than be typecast by it, become equally famous for just being Sean Connery. A real screen legend; oft imitated (by all!) but never equalled,” he wrote.
He also shared that his two favorite portrayals as James Bond were “From Russia with Love” and “Goldfinger.” As for his other legendary movies, Wright said he “dearly” loved “Hell Drivers,” of which he had a supporting role, “The Frightened City,” Alfred Hitchcock’s “Marnie,” and Sidney Lumet’s British-American war drama “The Hill,” among several others.
“From charming immortal Ramirez to Henry Jones Sr, from being the rock in the centre of the best Michael Bay film to his incredible Oscar winning turn as Malone in The Untouchables, Sean Connery had a hell of a run. Have a vodka martini & a dram of whiskey for him tonight,” Wright concluded.
Connery was an international star, having earned an Academy Award, multiple Golden Globes, including the Cecil B. DeMille and Henrietta Awards, as well as two British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) awards.
One of his most memorable roles was as the first actor to tackle the character of James Bond on the silver screen, beginning with 1962’s “Dr. No.” His other notable films include “The Untouchables,” “The Rock” and “Murder on the Orient Express.”
After “Dr. No,” Connery appeared in six more Bond films: “From Russia with Love,” “Goldfinger,” “Thunderball,” “You Only Live Twice,” “Diamonds are Forever” and “Never Say Never Again.”
Connery’s other films included “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” “The Hunt for Red October,” “The Wind and the Lion,” “The Man Who Would Be King” and “Finding Forrester.”
It was his role in Brian de Palma’s “The Untouchables” in 1987 that earned him a supporting actor Oscar.
In 1999, Connery was chosen as the Sexiest Man of the Century in a survey conducted by New Woman magazine, and one year later, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
Connery leaves behind his wife, and his sons, Jason and Stephane Connery.
He was known to shun the Hollywood lifestyle, preferring a quiet life away from the spotlight with Roquebrune. The pair wed in 1975. Connery was married to Diane Cilento for 11 years. The pair wed in 1962 and divorced in 1973 amid allegations of his infidelity and being violent towards her.
Fox News’ Nate Day contributed to this report.