Acclaimed theatre director and producer Patrick Garland has died following a long illness. He was 78.

The Brit passed away at Worthing Hospital in West Sussex, England, on Saturday (20Apr13) with his actress wife Alexandra Bastedo at his bedside.

Garland began his career as an actor, but began directing after joining the Bbc and went on to work with stars including Rex Harrison on a Broadway revival of My Fair Lady.

He is the only director to have had four plays simultaneously running in London's famed West End theatre district, and scooped a Golden Globe for his 1971 film The Snow Goose.

Garland was also a prolific poet who published several books, and founded the Poetry International foundation with Ted Hughes.

Bastedo, who married Garland back in 1980, has led the tributes to her late husband.

She says, "Patrick had been ill for a long time but bore all of his troubles with great fortitude. He was a wonderful man, brilliant with people of all types, and life will never be the same."

A private funeral and memorial service are to be held at Britain's Chichester Cathedral at a later date.