Tributes poured in yesterday for Oscar-winning film director Anthony Minghella, who died at the age of 54.
The British director, whose films include The English Patient, Truly Madly Deeply and Cold Mountain, died after a haemorrhage at Charing Cross Hospital in west London after last week undergoing an operation on a growth in his neck, according to agents, Judy Daish.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Minghella was a "great friend" and described him as "one of Britain's greatest creative talents".
Jude Law, who worked on The Talented Mr Ripley, Cold Mountain and Breaking And Entering, said he would miss the director "hugely".
Minghella was married to Carolyn Choa and had two grown-up children, Max and Hannah.
He established his name on the world stage in 1997 when The English Patient stole the headlines at the Oscars.
The film, an adaptation of Michael Ondaatje's Booker Prize winning novel, almost swept the board, winning nine awards including Best Picture.
Ralph Fiennes, whose role earned him a Best Actor nomination, said he was "devastated and shocked".
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair said of Minghella, who directed him in a party election broadcast for Labour: "Anthony Minghella was a wonderful human being, creative and brilliant, but still humble, gentle, a joy to be with."
His film for the 2005 General Election campaign showed Mr Blair and then Chancellor Mr Brown chatting.
Sarah, Duchess of York, was another friend. "He was one of the finest gentlemen I have ever met," she said.
A former lecturer at Hull University, Minghella cut his teeth as a script writer and director in television, working on the BBC children's programme Grange Hill and ITV's Inspector Morse.