Jonathan Demme, the Oscar-winning director of The Silence of the Lambs, has died in New York at the age of 73.
His publicist confirmed he died from complications from oesophageal cancer.
Born in 1944, Demme's other features included Philadelphia, Something Wild and the Talking Heads documentary Stop Making Sense.
Tom Hanks, who won an Oscar for his performance in Philadelphia, told the Press Association Demme was "the grandest of men".
He said: "Jonathan taught us how big a heart a person can have, and how it will guide how we live and what we do for a living."
Demme's own Oscar was for best director for The Silence of the Lambs in 1992.
The second film to feature serial killer Hannibal Lecter, it is one of only three films to win the so-called "big five" Oscars.
As well as best director, the 1991 film was named best picture, won a screenplay prize and saw both of its lead actors honoured.
Demme also steered Mary Steenburgen to a best supporting actress Oscar for his 1980 film Melvin and Howard.
In recent years he worked with Anne Hathaway on Rachel Getting Married and directed Meryl Streep in both Ricki and the Flash and his 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate.
His most recent film, Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids, showed Timberlake in concert in 2015.
Tributes flowed in from the film world, including from British actress Thandie Newton, who worked with him on Beloved and The Truth About Charlie, and director Ron Howard.
Deeply saddened by the passing of the most brilliant man - director, father, friend, activist. Devastating to let him go. I love you JD xT pic.twitter.com/aMFyHIIvCz— Thandie Newton (@thandienewton) April 26, 2017
Jonathan Demme was a great artist, humanitarian, activist & a warm encouraging colleague. I've known very few like him. He will be missed https://t.co/wQv5QRqHoN— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) April 26, 2017
Met tons through the Moonlight run but my man Demme was the kindest, most generous. A MASSIVE soul. He lived in love. And rests in peace.— Barry Jenkins (@BandryBarry) April 26, 2017
Sad to hear that Jonathan Demme has passed.— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) April 26, 2017
Director Jim Jarmusch wrote: "Inspiring filmmaker, musical explorer, ornithologist (!), and truly wonderful and generous person."
Author Stephen King tweeted: "Deeply sad to hear my friend, neighbor, and colleague Jonathan Demme has passed on. He was one of the real good guys. I miss you, buddy."
In a statement, the director's publicist said the director died at his Manhattan apartment fromcomplications of oesophageal cancer. He is survived by his wife, Joanne Howard, and three children.
"In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to Americans For Immigrant Justice in Miami, FL [Florida]."
Born Robert Jonathan Demme on New York's Long Island, Demme began his directing career working for famed producer Roger Corman.
His earliest credits included Caged Heat, a thriller set in a women's prison, and Crazy Mama, a road movie starring Cloris Leachman.