Bill Paxton, who starred in some of the biggest blockbusters of the 1980s and ’90s and kicked off a new TV series just weeks ago, died after heart surgery, his family said Sunday. He was 61.
A family statement revealed the actor died Saturday after his operation.
“It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery,” the statement said.
Doug Liman, who directed Paxton in the 2014 action film “Edge of Tomorrow,” told the Daily News the actor talked to him weeks ago about the surgery.
Paxton was worried, Liman recalled, but assured him he’d be ready to work. He was expected to reprise his role as Master Sgt. Farell in a planned “Edge of Tomorrow” sequel.
Paxton sent Liman an email Jan. 29 that said: “Thanks for the good wishes. It will help me face this ordeal. Don’t worry, ‘Sgt Farrell’ will be ready to report for duty.”
“Even facing major surgery, his optimism for the future was infectious,” Liman told The News. “He was talking about the future, things we hoped to do together.”
Actor Kick Gurry described Paxton as “the coolest ever.”
“He was so beloved,” Gurry said. ‘All of us on the set of ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ idolized him. Down to the model makers who were painting the suits we would wear. They loved Bill more than anything.”
A Texas native, Paxton racked up nearly 100 acting credits.
After getting started with bit parts in the 1970s, he scored minor and supporting roles in 1980s fan favorites including “The Terminator,” “Aliens” and “Weird Science.”
His profile rose in the ’90s, when he took the lead in the disaster hit “Twister” and played the modern-day treasure hunter in “Titanic,” which was the highest-grossing film of all time for more than a decade. Paxton also appeared in “Apollo 13,” “True Lies” and “Tombstone.”
In the later part of his career, Paxton focused on television roles, starring in the HBO series “Big Love” and earning an Emmy nomination for his performance in the History Channel miniseries “Hatfields and McCoys.”
Paxton stars in the CBS cop drama “Training Day,” which premiered this month.
Paxton’s co-stars mourned him for his character and his ability to take on every role that came his way.
“Bill Paxton could play any role, but he was best at being Bill — a great human being with a huge heart. My thoughts are with his family,” Arnold Schwarzenegger tweeted.