Emmy Award-winning actor Bill Paxton died on Saturday at the age of 61 due to complications following a surgery, according to his family. Paxton is best known for his roles in the sci-fi classics Aliens (1986), where he played the role of Private Hudson, an ill-fated combat technician, and The Terminator (1984), where he appeared as a punk leader. He played Brock Lovett, a famed treasure hunter in Titanic (1997).
He played the role of a polygamist on HBO’s Big Love (2006-2011), which lasted five seasons. Big Love earned Paxton three Golden Globe nominations.
“It was a great show, it was a landmark show, and it ran its course,” he told Screen Anarchy in a 2012 interview, according to Variety. “Five years was a great run, and it had to end somehow, and it ended with a bang, instead of a whimper.”
“Mr Paxton was one of just two people to have been killed by an Alien, Predator and Terminator on screen.”
He was Bill “The Extreme” Harding, a tornado-chasing scientist in 1996 disaster film Twister. He was Hank Mitchell, a family man trying to stash away loot in A Simple Plan (1998). He played the role of a dad plagued by terrifying demonic visions in the horror movie Frailty (2001), which he directed.
Bill Paxton .— Karl Urban (@KarlUrban) February 26, 2017
Awesome talent and a great guy
My heart , thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends . pic.twitter.com/9vgXkXKPTJ
“It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery,” the family said in a statement issued on Saturday, according to NY Daily News.
The statement extolled his career “spanning for decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker.”
RIP Bill Paxton???? pic.twitter.com/lsNCDO2zTu— Horror Film Fanatics (@TerrorFanatics) February 26, 2017
“A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker,” the statement continued. “His passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable. We ask to please respect the family’s wish for privacy as they mourn the loss of their adored husband and father.”
“Bill’s passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable.”
HBO also released a statement on Saturday, according to the Associated Press.
“We are extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Bill Paxton. ‘Big Love’ was a seminal series for HBO for many years due to Bill’s extraordinary talent and grace. Off-screen, he was as warm, smart and fun as one could be. [He was a] true friend to so many at HBO. He will be greatly missed.”
Spent some time with Bill Paxton on a set visit years ago -- he was as fun, smart, knowledgeable, sharp and just plain cool as you'd expect.— Kate Erbland (@katerbland) February 26, 2017
I spent the most memorable, bizarre night of my reporting life hanging with Bill Paxton after an Obama event in LA. RIP Bill Paxton. RIP.— Jason Horowitz (@jasondhorowitz) February 26, 2017
He was on the CBS series Training Day (2017) as Detective Frank Rourke at the time he died. His son, James Paxon, was set to guest-star on an episode of the show. He recently expressed pleasure at having his son guest star on the show.
He won an Emmy Award for his performance in the 2012 TV mini-series Hatfields & McCoys, in which, alongside Kevin Costner, he played Randall McCoy, leader of the McCoy clan.
He is also set to appear later in the year in The Circle, alongside Tom Hanks and Emma Watson.
Paxton, known popularly as “Wild Bill,” due to his on-set pranks, was survived by two children, James and Lydia Paxton, and his second wife, Louise Newbury.
He was born in Fort Worth, Texas. His father, John Paxton, was also an actor.
Sad day, Bill Paxton was one of the greats. Big inspiration to me in Aliens, one of my favorite films. Insert coins for new credit, man! pic.twitter.com/CjgzXxwHgg— Jon Jafari (@JonTronShow) February 26, 2017
He left his native Texas for Hollywood at 18, according to Variety. He found employment as a set dresser for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, where he worked on several films, including Big Bad Mama (1974) and Eat My Dust (1976).
He secured his first acting role, a small part in Jonathan Demme’s Crazy Mama (1975), and later studied acting under Stella Adler in New York.
Thousands of Paxton’s fans have paid their respects on social media.
[Featured Image by Alberto Rodriguez/Getty Images]