Tributes paid to 'Frasier' actor John Mahoney

The 77-year-old died in Chicago on Sunday

Tributes paid to 'Frasier' actor John Mahoney

In this 2010 file photo, actor John Mahoney arrives at the premiere of "Flipped" in Los Angeles | Image: Matt Sayles/AP/Press Association Images

Tributes have been paid to actor John Mahoney, who starred as Martin Crane in US sitcom Frasier.

He died in Chicago on Sunday, aged 77.

He become one of the show's most loved characters, playing Frasier and Niles Crane's cranky father.

In this 1998 file photo, cast members of "Frasier," from left, Dan Butler, John Mahoney, Peri Gilpin, Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves and David Hyde Pierce, winners of the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, pose backstage | Image: Reed Saxon/AP/Press Association Images

His longtime manager, Paul Martino, said he died after a brief stint in hospital.

The actor's cause of death has not been publicly announced.

Mahoney received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for his portrayal of Martin Crane.

Born in Blackpool, England he moved to the US after his older sister, Vera, who was married to an American, agreed to sponsor him.

After university in Illinois he joined the US army to speed up his citizenship process before teaching English at Western Illinois University in the early 1970s and serving as the editor of a medical journal.

In this 2004 file photo, John Mahoney appears on the set during the filming of the final episode of "Frasier" in Los Angeles | Image: Reed Saxon/AP/Press Association Images

Unhappy with his career, he took acting classes and in 1977 joined the Steppenwolf Theatre where a performance in the play Orphans propelled him into the world of film.

After roles in a few films he appeared in Frasier's first episode in 1993, and starred in the sitcom until its final episode in 2003.

He received two Emmy nominations and two Golden Globe nominations for his role as Martin Crane.

After Frasier he worked on Broadway and appeared as an elderly drag queen in an ER episode.

He also had roles in films such as Primal Fear and The Broken Hearts Club.

People have been paying tribute to him, including co-stars.