ACCLAIMED Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, winner of nine Oscars for his film, The Last Emperor, and director of the controversial Marlon Brando piece Last Tango In Paris, has died at the age of 77.
Bertolucci was known internationally for his vivid and rich visuals and he leaves behind an extensive collection of critically acclaimed pieces.
A statement from his press office confirmed this morning that Bertolucci passed away at his residence in Rome after suffering from illness.
He was reportedly surrounded by his family at the time of his death according to Italian state media channel RAI.
Bertolucci will be remembered for his 1989 epic, The Last Emperor, which told the story of Pu-Yi, the last emperor of China.
Bertolucci won nine academy awards for the film including the coveted Best Picture and Best Director prizes.
Bertolucci will also be remembered for his 1972 piece, Last Tango in Paris starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider.
The film was highly controversial and banned in Bertolucci’s native Italy for 15 years after its release due to its unapologetic sexual drama.
In 2011, Bertolucci was honoured with the Lifetime achievement award at the Cannes Film Festival.
He famously said of his relationship with cinema: “Maybe I’m an idealist, but I still think of the movie theatre as a cathedral where we all go together to dream the dream together,”