Sir Sean Connery, best known as the first actor to portray James Bond on the big screen, has died at the age of 90 of undisclosed causes.

According to the BBC, Connery died overnight in his sleep. The report quoting his son Jason, who said that his father had "had many of his family who could be in the Bahamas around him. We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time. A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor."

Born on Aug. 25, 1930 in Edinburgh, Scotland, Thomas Sean Connery joined the Royal Navy at the age of 16, serving three years on an aircraft carrier before being discharged due to an ulcer. Connery returned to Scotland and worked a series of odd jobs, including a truck driver, a lifeguard, a model for art students and a competitive bodybuilder.

He didn't show an interest in acting until his early 20s, when he took a backstage job at Edinburgh's King's Theatre. Within a few years, he'd moved to London and scored a few small stage and television roles, eventually elevating to leading man status for a 1957 BBC production of Requiem for a Heavyweight.

But it was as super spy James Bond where he made his name, beginning with 1962's Dr. No. His combination of charisma, charm and menace gave life to the creation found on novelist Ian Fleming's pages, and helped set the standard for rugged masculinity -- he was named People's Sexiest Man of the Century in 1999.  Connery walked away from the role after You Only Live Twice in 1967, but was twice coaxed back, for 1971's Diamonds Are Forever and 1983's Never Say Never Again.

Although the part defined him throughout his entire career -- he once said, “I have always hated that damn James Bond. I’d like to kill him” -- he was able to show off his range after leaving the 007 franchise in movies like The Man Who Would Be King, The Wind and the Lion, Robin and Marian, Murder on the Orient Express and A Bridge Too Far.

Despite being a much-loved movie star for decades, Connery rarely got recognition from within his industry. That changed in 1987 with his performance as Jimmy Malone in The Untouchables, for which he earned the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. A couple of years later, he co-starred, against type, as Harrison Ford's doddering, professorial father in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Connery continued to be bankable, starring such films as in The Hunt for Red October, The Rock and Finding Forrester before announcing his retirement in 2006.

Connery only received the one Oscar, but he was the recipient of numerous lifetime achievement awards for his contributions to cinema. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000, which he called "one of the proudest days of my life."

 

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