Famed Russian moviemaker Alexei Balabanov has died at the age of 54.

Balabanov passed away on Saturday (18May13) at a medical centre near St Petersburg following a seizure, according to local media reports.

Beginning with Egor i Nastya in 1989, Balabanov helmed 16 movies during a 23-year career and was known for directing gritty films documenting the dramatic rise in crime after the fall of the Soviet Union.

He won 10 awards at various international film festivals, and racked up a further 14 nominations.

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev paid tribute to the cult moviemaker on Facebook.com, writing, "The films of Alexei Balabanov were a collective portrait of the country in the most dramatic periods of its history."