LONDON -- Oscar-nominated British actor Pete Postlethwaite, described by director Steven Spielberg as "the best actor in the world," has died at age 64 after a long battle with cancer.
Longtime friend and journalist Andrew Richardson said Monday that Postlethwaite died in a hospital Sunday.
A gritty and powerful actor, Postlethwaite was nominated for an Oscar for his role in the 1993 film "In The Name Of The Father."
He had recently been seen in the critically acclaimed film "Inception" and had worked with Spielberg on "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" and "Amistad."
Postlethwaite initially planned to become a priest but was drawn to acting.
He received an OBE in 2004 along with many other honors for his long career in movies, theater, and television.
Postlethwaite lived in the hills of rural Shropshire, in western England. He was a political activist known for his opposition to the recent war in Iraq and his call for policies to fight global warming.
He had recently returned to the stage to star as King Lear.
The actor had been treated at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. Shortly before his death he publicly thanked the hospital staff in the Shropshire Star newspaper for their "wonderful" treatment and care during his illness.
He is survived by his wife, Jacqui, his son Will and daughter, Lily.