Sylvester Stallone and William Shatner have led tributes to veteran actor Brian Dennehy, who has died at the age of 81.

Dennehy starred in a host of Hollywood blockbusters in the 80s including the first Rambo movie First Blood and Ron Howard sci-fi Cocoon.

Taking to Twitter his daughter Elizabeth wrote: “It is with heavy hearts we announce that our father, Brian passed away last night from natural causes, not Covid-related.

“Larger than life, generous to a fault, a proud and devoted father and grandfather, he will be missed by his wife Jennifer, family and many friends.”

Dennehy also had a celebrated stage presence, winning two Tony awards for Death of a Salesman in 1999 and Long Day’s Journey Into Night in 2003.

He was also known for roles in The West Wing30 RockThe Good Wife and Miami Vice.

Taking to Twitter his Rambo co-star, Stallone paid his respects. “The great actor Brian Dennehy has passed away. He simply was a great actor … He also was a Vietnam vet that helped me very much building the character of RAMBO The world has lost a great artist,” he wrote.

Dennehy is survived by his wife, the costume designer Jennifer Arnott, and his five children, Elizabeth, Kathleen, Deirdre, Cormac and Sarah.