'Blade Runner' star Rutger Hauer dies at 75

Los Angeles: Rutger Hauer, one of the master stars of Ridley Scott's cult classic "Blade Runner", has died. He was 75. The Dutch star breathed his last on July 19 after a "very short illness", his non-profit HIV/AIDS charity, the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, said in a statement.

"The Rutger Hauer Starfish Association announces with infinite sadness that after a very short illness, on Friday, July 19, 2019, Rutger passed away peacefully at his Dutch home," the statement posted on the organisation's official website read.

Though he had already made a name for himself with films such as "Soldier of Orange" (1977) and "Turkish Delight" (1973), Hauer found global fame after he portrayed the renegade replicant Roy Batty in Scott's "Blade Runner" (1982).

One of the most memorable scenes from the sci-fi film involved a rain-soaked Hauer delivering the "Tears in the rain" monologue during the climax.

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe... All those moments will be lost in time like tears in the rain," Hauer's Batty recites just before he dies.

Though the film, starring Harrison Ford in the lead as a special police agent sent to hunt down renegade replicants who have returned to Earth from human colonies in space, failed at the box office, it went on to become cultural phenomenon.

A sequel, directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Ryan Gosling and Ford, released in 2017 to universal acclaim, box office success and winning two Oscars.

Hauer also featured in "The Hitcher" and "LadyHawke". In 2005, Hauer featured in Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins", where he essayed the role of William Earle, the CEO of Wayne Enterprises.

On Twitter, filmmaker Guillermo del Toro led the tributes for the star, calling him an "intense, deep, genuine and magnetic actor".

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"RIP the great Rutger Hauer: an intense, deep, genuine and magnetic actor that brought truth, power and beauty to his films. My personal favourites: 'Flesh + Blood', 'Eureka', 'The Hitcher', 'Blade Runner', 'Ladyhawke' and 'Blind Fury'," he wrote.

Actor Sam Neil, who featured alongside Hauer in the 1998 miniseries "Merlin", tweeted, "I fought #RutgerHauer on ice! Not many people can say that. Vale Rutger- terrific screen actor and completely marvellous villain. #Merlin"

Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, who directed Hauer in 2005's "Sin City", said working with him was "one of the biggest highlights" of his career.

"A truly commanding presence in front of the camera but also a consummate storyteller with a passion for mentorship and creating opportunities for new filmmakers. A remarkable generous spirit," he added.

"Jurrasic World" star Vincent D'Onofrio tweeted, "Rutger Hauer. I spent several months in the outback of Australia with him. He was a true sweetheart of a man.

We did a film together, I was very young called 'Salute of the Jugger/The blood of heroes'. I'll never forget the Dutch films and 'BLADE RUNNER'. He'll always stay with me." "Star Wars" actor Billy Dee Williams said he was saddened to hear about Hauer's death.

"Working with this gentleman was a career highlight when we co-starred together in the 1981 movie #Nighthawks. Sending my condolences to all that he touched in his lifetime. #RIPRutgerHauer" he wrote on Twitter.

Hauer is survived by his wife of 50 years, Ineke ten Cate, and a daughter, actor Aysha Hauer, from a previous marriage.