Michael Winner, who's famous for directing "Death Wish" films, has died at the age of 77. He passed away Monday, January 21 at his home in Kensington, West London, his wife Geraldine said.
Chief column character Geraldine, who had been nursing Winner, stated, "A light has gone out in my life." She went on remembering the filmmaker as "a wonderful man, brilliant, funny and generous."
Winner's celebrity pals have expressed their condolences upon learning the sad news. Comedian John Cleese said, "I have just heard the very sad news about Michael. He was the dearest, kindest, funniest and most generous of friends. I shall miss him terribly."
Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber tweeted, "Dearest @MrMichaelWinner. True originals come rarely in a lifetime. Madeleine and I will deeply miss you. ALW." Winner's former editor at The Sunday Times, Andrew Neil, added, "So sad to hear of death of my old mate Michael Winner. One of life's great characters."
Martin Ivens, acting editor of The Sunday Times, also paid tribute to Winner. "For nearly 20 years he delighted readers with his inimitable Winner's Dinners column," he said. "He was also not afraid to laugh at himself and rejoiced in the huge postbag of letters which poked gentle fun at him - often he would forward particularly insulting letters that had been sent straight to him for inclusion alongside his column. He will be greatly missed."
Winner, who became primarily known as an action film director following the release of "Death Wish" in 1974, had a series of operations in 2007 after eating an infected oyster at new year celebrations in 2007 in Barbados. The illness nearly cost his life.
He later got an E.coli infection in 2011 and revealed last summer that liver specialists had told him he had between 18 months and two years to live. He also admitted to having researched assisted suicide offered at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, but found the bureaucracy of the process off-putting.