Australian acting legend Bill Hunter has died at the age of 71.
The Muriel's Wedding star passed away on on Saturday (21May11) surrounded by his family at a Melbourne hospice following a battle with cancer, according to his manager Mark Morrissey.
Hunter was admitted to the hospice on 16 May (11) and his loved ones flocked to his bedside after doctors informed him they would not be able to operate.
His career began on Australian television in the 1960s and by the 1970s, he had become one of the country's most popular actors with roles in films including Gallipoli, alongside Mel Gibson, and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert.
In 1978, he was honoured with the Australian Film Institute (AFI) Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Newsfront and he scooped the Best Supporting Actor Afi Award for Gallipoli in 1981.
Hunter, who became known for playing stereotypically gruff Australian men with big hearts, was also awarded the Centenary Medal for his service to acting in 2001. He has also voiced parts in Finding Nemo and last year's (10) Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole.
News of his cancer emerged on 18 May (11), sending shock waves through the film industry Down Under, with filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, who worked with Hunter in the 1992 hit Strictly Ballroom and the 2008 epic Australia, offering his support to the ill star.
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