Anthony Minghella tributes

Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella has died.

The 54-year-old British filmmaker suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage at 5am on Tuesday (18.03.08).

He had been in hospital after undergoing an operation for cancer of the tonsils and neck at Charing Cross Hospital last week. His agent Leslee Dart said: “The surgery had gone well and they were very optimistic. But he developed a haemorrhage and doctors were not able to stop it.”

Minghella is survived by his Hong-Kong born choreographer wife Carolyn Choa, his daughter Hannah and actor son Max. Minghella won a Best Director Oscar in 1997 for The English Patient, starring Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche and Kristin Scott Thomas.

His other work includes The Talented Mr. Ripley, which catapulted Jude Law to fame, and Cold Mountain – which won Renée Zellweger a Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

Law said he was “shocked” by the director’s untimely death, adding: “He was a brilliantly talented writer and director who wrote dialogue that was a joy to speak and then put it on to the screen in a way that always looked effortless.

“He made work feel like fun. He was a sweet, warm, bright and funny man who was interested in everything from soccer to opera, films, music, literature, people and, most of all, his family whom he adored and to whom I send my thoughts and love. I shall miss him hugely.”

Minghella, who was born on the Isle of Wight, had recently finished filming The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency in Botswana. He worked as a TV script editor before making his directorial debut with made-for-TV production Truly, Madly, Deeply in 1990. The romantic comedy, starring Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman, was so popular it was later released in cinemas.

He began his career in theatre, working as a playwright and director. He returned to the stage in 2005 for an interpretation of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly at the English National Opera.