Sylvia Kristel has died.

The Dutch actress - best known for her work in the erotic 'Emmanuelle' movie series - has lost her battle with cancer at the age of 60.

Her agent confirmed: ''She died during the night during her sleep.''

Sylvia - who battled drug and alcohol addiction for several years - had suffered a stroke in July and was admitted to hospital.

Her agent declined to say whether the actress had died at home or in hospital.

A private funeral will take place at a later date.

Sylvia is survived by her 38-year-old son Arthur, from her marriage to Hugo Claus.

The twice-wed actress first rose to fame appearing in the first 'Emmanuelle' film - the first erotic movie to be shown in mainstream cinemas - in 1974, in which she played a sexually-promiscuous housewife.

Although she went on to appear in several sequels and other films which required her to shed her clothes, such as 'Lady Chatterley's Lover', she turned her back on on-screen nudity in the 1980s because her son, Arthur, was being ''teased at school''.

She returned to the 'Emmanuelle' series in 1994, in a direct-to-video sequel where she appeared, fully-clothed, reminiscing about the exploits of her younger alter-ego.