Robert De Niro, Nicolas Cage and More Pay Tribute to Sean Connery: ‘A Legend On Screen and Off’
Sean Connery died overnight in his sleep, his family said on Saturday
Celebrities are paying tribute to legendary actor Sean Connery, who has died at the age of 90.
"I'm very sorry to hear about Sean's passing. He seemed much younger than 90; I expected – and hoped-- he’d be with us much longer. See you up there, Sean," Robert De Niro said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Nicolas Cage, who costarred in The Rock with Connery, shared a loving tribute. "I admired Sean so much. I was happiest when I was working with him - his wisdom, humbleness, and extreme honesty has guided me ever since I met him. He was my friend and greatest teacher in cinema. The first movie star to lead the way in combining drama, action adventure, and comedy. He did it all effortlessly and with dignity. Maestro, you will be missed," Cage said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Also, Connery's The Untouchables costar Kevin Costner mourned the late star's death. "I, like the rest of the world, was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Sean Connery this morning. Sean was a crafted actor who was enormously proud of his body of work, particularly his work on stage. And although he was a very no-nonsense person, he was incredibly inclusive with me professionally and personally. He was the biggest star that I ever worked with and I will be forever grateful to be linked with him on film. Sean Connery was a man’s man who had an amazing career," Costner said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Actor Sam Neill, who worked alongside Connery in the 1990 film, The Hunt for Red October, also paid tribute to his late costar. “Every day on set with #SeanConnery was an object lesson in how to act on screen,” he wrote on Twitter. “But all that charisma and power- that was utterly unique to Sean . RIP that great man , that great actor.”
Fellow James Bond alum George Lazenby — who starred in 1969’s On Her Majesty's Secret Service — also mourned the passing of the actor.
“Only a few weeks ago I was wishing Sean all the best for his 90th birthday. Now, I'm very sad to be condoling with his family and friends,” he wrote in an emotional tribute. “Of course, Sean Connery as James Bond inspired me personally but seems to have encapsulated an age, the Sixties. I met Sean a couple of times and I was pleased he'd given my Bond film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, his seal of approval.”
“But, to me, the most important thing was his work went far beyond Bond: into charity, into family, into politics and into golf. A man after my own heart. A great actor, a great man and underappreciated artist has left us. My thoughts are with Lady Micheline and Sean's children and grandchildren,” he added.
In his own tribute, Jackie Stewart, a former Formula One racing star and pal of Connery’s, wrote, “He was a good friend and an amazing man. He was the biggest name in Scotland. He was a personality and a tough guy. There aren't many left like him.”
Singer Shirley Bassey — who sung the title Goldfinger track — went on to remember the actor as a “wonderful person.”
“We we will be forever connected by Bond. When we were younger I used to cheer Sean on from the sidelines whilst he played football in his team, The Showbiz 11!” she continued. “Well, I will always be there to cheer you on Sean! Forever in our hearts and may you rest in peace. Shirley x.”
Actress Kim Basinger, who worked with Connery in his last Bond film, shared a tribute on Instagram. "Very sad day...This film Never say Never was the film that introduced me to my world audience.. I Will always be grateful and indebted to Sean and his wife Michelin Connery," she said. "This was one of the first and greatest adventures of my professional life.. my love and prayers go out to his family. Love you Sean.. There Will never be another you… On or off the screen."
The official James Bond Twitter account also shared a message from producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. “We are devastated by the news of the passing of Sir Sean Connery,” the statement began.
“He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words — 'The name’s Bond... James Bond' — he revolutionised the world with his gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent," the statement continued. "He is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series and we shall be forever grateful to him.”
In a lengthy thread early Saturday, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon shared, “Our nation today mourns one of her best loved sons.”
Sturgeon went on to share a bit about Connery’s life, “Sean was born into a working class Edinburgh family and through talent & sheer hard work, became an international film icon and one of the world's most accomplished actors.”
“It was a privilege to have known Sean,” she added. “When I last spoke to him it was clear even then that his health was failing - but the voice, the spirit and the passion that we all loved so well were still there. I will miss him. Scotland will miss him. The world will miss him.”