Northern Irish actor Ray Stevenson, who portrayed warriors on the small and big screen, died aged 58 in Italy, where was filming his latest project.
Stevenson had recently been cast as the lead role of Cassio in the action movie Cassio in Ischia, but died just days into production in Italy. A cause of death has not yet been confirmed.
The actor has shared the screen with stars including Helena Bonham Carter, Keira Knightley, Chris Hemsworth, Christoph Waltz, and Ciarán Hinds. His career has included roles in big budget HBO dramas, Marvel blockbusters, and Star Wars shows.
Tributes from former co-stars and fans of his films and shows have poured in since his death was announced on Monday.
What films and TV shows did Ray Stevenson star in?
Stevenson’s early screen roles included parts in 1990s crime drama Band of Gold, and City Central. He also played Dagonet, one of King Arthur’s knights in the 2004 action adventure film King Arthur, but it was in HBO series Rome that he got his breakout role.
He played Titus Pullo, a rough Roman centurion under Julius Caesar in Rome - Pullo also went on to bed Cleopatra. You can find out more about Rome in last week's Screen Babble podcast. Following his work on the series, Stevenson was cast in many similar roles as a tough fighter.
He played Volstagg, an Asgardian adventurer and hero in the first three Thor films, the brutal anti-hero Frank Castle in Punisher: War Zone, and Porthos in the 2011 flop The Three Musketeers.
Stevenson also took on the fearsome role of Blackbeard in Starz pirates series Black Sails, and, presumably taking a liking to ocean life, later played Othere, a mysterious sailor in the sixth season of Vikings.
His most recent roles saw a diversion from the brutish adventure hero - he played the governor of Delhi, Scott Buxton, in the Netflix Telugu-language epic drama RRR, and commander Jack Swinburne in war drama series Das Boot.
Stevenson is due to appear as the main antagonist, Baylan Skoll, in the upcoming Disney+ Star Wars series Ahsoka, which is due to be released in August. He previously voiced Star Wars character Gar Saxon in the animated shows Rebels, and The Clone Wars.
Stevenson’s last role will be as Cesareane in the historical action film 1242: Gateway to the West, about a planned Mongolian invasion of Europe, which is due to be released later this year.
Who has paid tribute to Ray Stevenson?
The Marvel Studios Twitter account shared an image of Steveson as Volstagg, and wrote: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Ray Stevenson, who brought humour and wit to the character of Volstagg. He was a wonderful actor who will be deeply missed.
Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis, whose first screen role was on the TV movie Some Kind of Life, which also starred Stevenson, tweeted: “This is so sad. Ray played my Dad in the first thing I ever did on TV. Almost 30 years ago. A proper actor with a fascinating career and I couldn’t have dreamed of a better first experience in this ridiculous industry.”
James Purefoy, who played Mark Antony in Rome, tweeted: “So sad to hear the news that Ray Stevenson, our Pullo in Rome, has passed away. A brilliant, gutsy, larger-than-life actor who filled every part he played right up to the brim.”
Rosario Dawson, who stars alongside Stevenson in the upcoming Star Wars series Ahsoka tweeted: “Sharing in grief with you all. What a Ray of light. Been calling cast/crew & the rest of my family to say how much I love them. Let this be your reminder to love on your people’s in real time while you can. Ray was so vivacious & unbelievably present & vibrant. He truly lived!”
Many fans have also taken to Twitter to share their love for the actor, sharing images from his roles in Rome and RRR in particular.