Italian actor-filmmaker Bud Spencer, known for his action-comedy roles, is dead. He was 86.
Spencer died on Monday, his son Giuseppe Pedersoli confirmed the news in a statement, reports hollywoodreporter.com.
“My father died peacefully at 18:15 (on Monday) and did not suffer from pain, he had all of us next to him and his last words were ‘Thank you’,” the statement read.
Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister of Italy, also paid tribute to the actor.
“Ciao Bud Spencer. We loved you so much,” Renzi posted on Twitter.
Born in Naples, Spencer started as an Olympic athlete in both swimming and water polo, competing in 1952 and 1956. He was the first Italian to swim the 100-meter freestyle race in under a minute. He earned a degree in law and registered several patents in his name.
He began acting in the late 1940s, but it wasn’t until the late 1960s that his career took off.
Spencer, whose real name was Carlo Pedersoli, chose the name Bud Spencer after his favourite brand of beer, Budweiser, and for American actor Spencer Tracy.
He grew to become a star of Spaghetti Westerns — western films primarily produced and directed by Italian and other European production companies. Known for his towering height and friendly spirit, Spencer partnered with Terence Hill for a string of successful hits including 1970’s “They Call Me Trinity”, which became the highest grossing Italian film of the time.