"An important and masterful filmmaker" - Tributes paid to director Michael Cimino

The US director, who has died aged 77, was best known for 'The Deer Hunter' and 'Heaven's Gate'

michael, cimino, director, US

Michael Cimino. Image: ANDREW MEDICHINI / AP/Press Association Images

Tributes are being paid to US film director Michael Cimino, who has died aged 77.

Mr Cimino's body was discovered at his home in Los Angeles, BBC reports.

Cimino was one of the key figures of the so-called 'New Hollywood' - a period between the late 1960s and early 1980s that saw a number of young American directors produce a huge variety of influential and provocative films.

Cimino was best known for his 1978 film The Deer Hunter, about the Vietnam War. It won Cimino two Oscars, for Best Film and Best Director.

He followed up that film with the film Heaven's Gate, one of Hollywood's most infamous critical and commercial flops. 

However, Heaven's Gate has seen some significant critical reappraisal in recent years, with Martin Scorsese among its many defenders.

Cimino directed a total of seven features, having initially worked on the scripts for films such as Silent Running.

Filmmakers, actors and critics have been among those paying tribute to Cimino, with Exorcist director William Friedkin describing him as a "masterful filmmaker".

In a statement quoted by Variety, Deer Hunter star Robert de Niro said: “Our work together is something I will always remember. He will be missed.”