Lewis Collins, star of the cult television show The Professionals, has died aged 67 after a five-year battle with cancer.

Collins played former paratrooper tough guy Bodie in the classic show, based around the adventures of a fictional crime fighting unit called CI5, which had been instructed by the Home Secretary to deal with serious crime. Collins' was perfectly complimented by Martin Shaw, who played his relaxed on-screen partner Raymond Doyle.

Martin ShawMartin Shaw Was A Close Friend and Co-Star of Lewis Collins

According to the actor's agent, "He died peacefully at his Los Angeles home surrounded by his family. Privacy is asked for at this very sad time."

Collins' former co-star Shaw paid tribute, saying, "'I was very sad to hear today that Lewis has died. 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 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."

Though known for his role as tough-guy Bodie, Collins had a shot at playing James Bond following the departure of Sean Connery from the classic British role.

In 1982, Collins auditioned to take over from Roger Moore (the actor went on to make several more films before being placed by Timothy Dalton) though his try-out was deemed "too aggressive," according to the Daily Mail.

"I was in Albert R Broccoli's office for five minutes, but it was really over for me in seconds," he reportedly said. "He's expecting another Connery to walk through the door and there are few of them around."

Roger MooreCollins Auditioned To Replace Roger Moore as Bond, But Was Deemed 'Too Aggressive'

With Dalton considered one of the least successful actors to tackle the role, many would suggest that Broccoli made a mistake, including creator of The Professionals Brian Clements.

"I thought he would have made a marvellous Bond," he told the BBC. "He was tough and he could fight, he looked good, he was handsome and he had this nice sense of humour.

"I knew he had auditioned [for James Bond] and I think they were wrong not to take him up."

"The man who should have been Bond," tweeted singer and actor Gary Kemp this week, "RIP Lewis Collins. You were supercool."

The Professionals is currently being re-run on ITV4.