Lewis Collins, the actor who starred on crime television series The Professionals, has died aged 67 after a five year battle with cancer, according to his agent, via BBC News. "He died peacefully at his LA home surrounded by his family. Privacy is asked for at this very sad time," said the agent.

Though he is best remembered for his tough guy character Bodie in The Professionals, the Birkenhead-born actor started out his career in showbiz playing in bands before training to become an actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He performed and toured with stage companies in theatres before making his foray into television with minor supporting roles in programmes including Z-Cars and The New Avengers.

Collins rose to prominence as a family name when he landed the role of The Professionals' Bodie in a series which ran from 1977 to 1983 and won the star a global following. Collins used his promising fame to unsuccessfully audition to become the next James Bond in 1982. "I was in Albert R Broccoli's office for five minutes, but it was really over for me in seconds," he reportedly said.

ITV's The Professionals was a show based around the adventures of a fictional crime fighting unit called CI5 and became huge hit in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Collins starred alongside Martin Shaw who has maintained his fame since the show ended.

Sean ConneryLewis Collins Met To Discuss The James Bond Job

Currently appearing in a West End production of 12 Angry Men, Shaw reacted with sadness to the news of his friend and former co-star's death: "We spent a very tough four years together in making the Professionals, and shared in the production of what has become an icon of British television," he said.

"He will be remembered as part of the childhood of so many people, and mourned by his fans. I send my love and condolences to his family, and the great many who will miss him."

Collins's other notable roles included SAS captain Peter Skellen in 1982's Who Dares Wins and Enrique Carrasco in 1985's Commando Leopard. His most recent on-screen role in a 2002 appearance in UK crime drama, The Bill.

Collins leaves behind his wife Michelle and their three sons, Oliver, Elliot and Cameron.