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Bill Paxton, actor in ‘Twister’ and ‘Aliens,’ dies at 61

Bill Paxton, who starred in films such as "Titanic" and "Aliens" died after complications from surgery according to a statement.

(CNN) — Actor Bill Paxton, whose extensive career included films such as “Twister,” “Aliens” and “Titanic,” has died, a representative for his family said in a statement. He was 61.

“It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery,” the statement said.

“A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker. Bill’s passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable. We ask to please respect the family’s wish for privacy as they mourn the loss of their adored husband and father.”

Moments after news of Paxton’s death broke, social media lit up with tributes to the versatile actor.

Actor Rob Lowe called Paxton a dear friend and “Renaissance man.”

“Devastated by the sudden loss of my close friend and one of the finest actors in the business, Bill Paxton,” Lowe tweeted.

In addition to more than 90 acting credits, Paxton was also a director on films such as “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” and “Fraility.”

Screenwriter Brian Lynch said Paxton was a talented director.

“RIP Bill Paxton. great in everything, was the highlight of every movie he was in,” Lynch tweeted. “Underrated director too.”

From Texas boy to Hollywood stardom

Paxton was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1955. He accidentally entered the national spotlight at age 8, when he went to see President John F. Kennedy visit Dallas on November 22, 1963.

A photo of Paxton hoisted above the crowd became a famous photo from the day of Kennedy’s assassination.

Texas Supreme Court Judge Don Willett shared the photo and called Paxton a “good guy, great actor and proud Texan.”

Paxton’s career took off in the 1980s, with roles in “The Terminator,” “Aliens” and “Near Dark.”

He later played a police chief in “One False Move,” an astronaut in “Apollo 13” and a storm chaser in “Twister.”

In 2005, Paxton told CNN that filmmaking — not just acting — was always his dream.

“I’ve kind of modeled myself as a filmmaker/actor,” he said. “That was always my dream, to make films.”

CNN’s Steve Forrest contributed to this report.