Daniel Craig leads tributes to late James Bond actor Sean Connery

The actor passed away peacefully in his sleep, his family reported.
Sean Connery rose to superstardom after becoming the first-ever actor to play James Bond on film. Daniel Craig has continued his legacy since 2006.
Sean Connery rose to superstardom after becoming the first-ever actor to play James Bond on film. Daniel Craig has continued his legacy since 2006.Getty Images
/ Source: Today

Following the death of Sean Connery at age 90, celebrities and fans alike have come together across social media to pay tribute to the late actor.

Connery, known best for his portrayal of the fictional James Bond, died peacefully in his sleep, his family confirmed.

“His wife Micheline and his two sons, Jason and Stephane have confirmed that he died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family,” Connery’s rep told TODAY via email. "There will be a private ceremony followed by a memorial yet to be planned once the virus has ended.”

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Daniel Craig, who followed in Connery's footsteps and started playing James Bond in 2006, paid special tribute to the Oscar winner. The 52-year-old "Spectre" star told TODAY in a statement, “It is with such sadness that I heard of the passing of one of the true greats of cinema.

“Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more,” he continued. “He defined an era and a style. The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in mega watts; he helped create the modern blockbuster. He will continue to influence actors and film-makers alike for years to come.”

He concluded his statement, writing, “My thoughts are with his family and loved ones. Wherever he is, I hope there is a golf course.”

Connery was the first actor to bring James Bond to life on film. He starred in a total of seven Bond films between 1962 and 1983, including “Dr. No” in 1962, "Goldfinger" in 1964, “Diamonds Are Forever” in 1971, and his final Bond film, “Never Say Never Again” in 1983.

Connery hailed from Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, where his mother worked as a cleaning woman and his father was employed as a factory worker and truck driver. He joined the Royal Navy at age 16 and afterward began bodybuilding. It wasn't until the 1950s that he began working backstage at a theater, where his love for acting developed.

Tributes poured in for Connery on social media following the news of his death with many celebrities and colleagues honoring the actor and his long-standing career.

Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, producers who worked on the more recent James Bond films, said in a joint statement on Twitter, “We are devastated by the news of the passing of Sir Sean Connery. He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words —“

“'The name’s Bond... James Bond' — he revolutionised the world with his gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent,” the tweets continued. “He is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series and we shall be forever grateful to him.”

Actor and filmmaker Paul Feig honored Connery in a tweet, writing, “Few were cooler, few more suave, few more effortless. He showed us all how it could be done and he thrilled and entertained us the entire time.”

“RIP the glorious Sean Connery,” actor Elizabeth Hurley wrote simply.

Sam Neill, Connery’s co-star in the Tom Clancy thriller “The Hunt for Red October” (1990) wrote, “Every day on set with #SeanConnery was an object lesson in how to act on screen. But all that charisma and power- that was utterly unique to Sean . RIP that great man , that great actor .”

Hugh Jackman wrote, “I grew up idolizing #SeanConnery. A legend on screen, and off.”

"This man was really good to me. They say don’t meet your heroes. He exceeded all expectations," Liam Cunningham, who co-starred with Connery in the 1995 movie “First Knight," wrote on Twitter.

Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, paid tribute to the Scottish actor in a series of tweets, writing, “I was heartbroken to learn this morning of the passing of Sir Sean Connery. Our nation today mourns one of her best loved sons.

"Sean was born into a working class Edinburgh family and through talent & sheer hard work, became an international film icon and one of the world's most accomplished actors,” she continued. “Sean was a lifelong advocate of an independent Scotland and those of us who share that belief owe him a great debt of gratitude.”

Sturgeon said it was a “privilege to have known Sean.”

“When I last spoke to him it was clear even then that his health was failing - but the voice, the spirit and the passion that we all loved so well were still there,” she concluded her statement. “I will miss him. Scotland will miss him. The world will miss him.”