Legendary 'The Lord of the Rings' actor Christopher Lee passes away

Film icon Sir Christopher Lee, known for his roles in 'The Lord of the Rings', 'Star Wars' and 'Count Dracula', has passed away at the age of 93.

According to reports, the legendary actor died on Sunday at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, where he was undergoing treatment for heart and respiratory problems.

Legendary 'The Lord of the Rings' actor Christopher Lee passes away
Christopher Lee passed away at the age of 93. Pic/AFP

His wife Lady Lee chose to delay the public announcement of Lee’s passing away until she had informed close family members. The couple were married for more than 50 years.

Lee, born in London on May 27, 1922, started out as an actor in the 1940s, but first rose to fame as 'Count Dracula' in the 1958 Hammer Horror film 'Dracula Has Risen From The Grave'.

Lee was also famous for playing the villain -- Francisco Scaramanga -- in the James Bond film 'The Man with the Golden Gun' (1974).

He was introduced to this generation of moviegoers as Saruman in 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy (2001–2003) and 'The Hobbit' trilogy (2012–2014), and also as Count Dooku in the final two films of the 'Star Wars' prequel trilogy (2002 and 2005).

There was also a sucessful partnership with Tim Burton in films including "Alice in Wonderland" and "Sleepy Hollow".

His memorable roles included Lord Summerisle in “The Wicker Man” (1973) and Scaramanga in “The Man With The Golden Gun” (1974). He had a personal connection to James Bond; Ian Fleming, Bond’s creator, was his cousin.

Lee was knighted in 2009 and received a Bafta fellowship in 2011, and said he would never retire.

“I hate being idle. As dear Boris (Karloff) used to say, 'When I die I want to die with my boots on'.”

Before his death, the nonagenarian had signed up for a new film, "The 11th", an ensemble drama co-starring Uma Thurman. Set in the hours leading up to the attack on the Twin Towers, it was due to start filming in November.

He is survived by his wife Birgit, whom he married in 1961, and their daughter Christina.

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