Legendary British actor Christopher Lee has passed away at the age of 93.

The iconic actor devoted his long and illustrious acting career to portraying villains from the classic Hammer Horror movies of the 50s, to sci-fi and fantasy hits of now.

He is most recognised for his role as notorious vampire Count Dracula in the 1958 film of the same name, and later appeared in successful blockbusters including Star Wars and in the Lord of the Rings franchises as Saruman The White.

The veteran actor died at 8.30am on Sunday morning at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London.

He is survived by his wife, former Danish model Birgit Kroencke, who decided to hold back the information until all family members and friends were informed, and their daughter, Christina. The couple were married for 50 years.

Lee was knighted in 2009 for services to drama and charity, and was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship in 2011.

News of his death prompted an outpouring of grief from actors, musicians, and even the prime minister; all paid tribute to Lee’s great talent.

Tim Burton, the director who worked with Lee on five films, described him as a legend of cinema: “Christopher has been an enormous inspiration to me my entire life. I had the honour and pleasure to work with him on five films” he said. Lee appeared in Burton’s adaptations of Sleepy Hollow, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Alice In Wonderland and Dark Shadows.

Leading the tributes online were his Lord of the Rings co-stars Dominic Monaghan and Elijah Wood, as well as Sir Roger Moore, who played Bond opposite Lee as fan favourite island assassin Francisco Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun.

Lee worked in many productions on screen and on stage, with his most famous roles including cult leader Lord Summerisle in the 1973 film The Wicker Man, The Curse of Frankenstein, The Golden Compass, Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet, Martin Scorsese’s 2011 hit, Hugo and several early Sherlock Holmes films.

Rest in peace in the crypt, Christopher Lee, and may you come back to haunt us all!