Hugh Keays-Byrne, best known for his roles in Mad Max and Mad Max: Fury Road, has died at the age of 73.
Keays-Byrne’s passing was announced by American writer and director Ted Geoghegan on Thursday morning on Twitter. A cause of death has yet to be revealed.
“Hugh Keays-Byrne, an unsung hero of Aussie cinema, has passed away at age 73,” Geoghegan tweeted.
“Im continually floored that he played Toecutter, the central antagonist of 1979's MAD MAX *and* Immortan Joe, the central antagonist 2015's MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. Thanks for all the entertainment, sir,” he added.
In a subsequent tweet, Geoghegan lauded the late actor, who lived in Gosford, NSW, as “an absolutely wonderful human”.
“By all accounts, Hugh Keays-Byrne, who trained at the Royal Shakespeare Company, was an absolutely wonderful human who fought very hard for environmental and humanitarian issues.
“This photo of him from earlier this year says it all. You will ride eternal, shiny and chrome.”
‘Unsung hero of Aussie cinema’
Keays-Byrne was born in India to British parents in 1947 before returning to the UK to complete his schooling and begin his acting career in the theatre.
At 26, he toured Australia with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and, when the tour ended, he stayed down under.
Five years later, he was cast as Toecutter in George Miller’s post-apocalyptic thriller, Mad Max alongside Aussie star Mel Gibson. Keays-Byrne returned for the fourth instalment in the franchise, Mad Max: Fury Road, as villain Immortan Joe in 2015.
In 1977, Keays-Byrne won a Best Actor Logie for his role in the ABC TV series Rush and was nominated for ‘Best Villain’ at the 2016 MTV Movies awards for his role in Fury Road.
Brian Medwin Trenchard-Smith, who directed Keays-Byrne in his 1975 film The Man From Hong Kong, shared a tribute to his ‘good friend’ on Facebook.
“I am sad to report that our friend Hugh Keays-Byrne passed away in hospital yesterday [Wednesday, November 2],” he wrote.
“He was a fine actor and a good friend to Margaret and myself for 46 years. We spent many happy Sunday mornings with him, his partner Christina, and a group of fellow actors and artists (the Macao Light Company) at the house they shared in Centennial Park.
“Christina, Jack, Shawn, Tim, Ralph, Robina, our hearts go out to you. Hugh had a generous heart, offering a helping hand to people in need, or a place to stay to a homeless teenager.
“He cared about social justice and preserving the environment long before these issues became fashionable. His life was governed by his sense of the oneness of humanity.
“We will miss his example and his friendship. Vale, Hugh.”
At the time of his passing, Keays-Byrne had around 40 film and TV credits to his name.
Never miss a thing. Sign up to Yahoo Lifestyle’s daily newsletter.
Or if you have a story idea, email us at email@example.com.