Pete Postlethwaite, famously dubbed the "best actor in the world" by Steven Spielberg and who starred in films such as 'Inception' and 'The Usual Suspects,' has died after a lengthy battle with cancer. The respected British star was 64.

Spokesman and friend Andrew Richardson told the UK press that Postlethwaite died in a hospital in Shropshire, in western England, on Sunday. Shortly before his death, he publicly thanked the hospital staff in the local newspaper for their "wonderful" treatment and care during his illness.

The unmistakeably gritty actor earned an Oscar nomination for his role as Daniel Day-Lewis' father, Giuseppe Conlon, in 1993's 'In the Name of the Father' and worked steadily through the years in big Hollywood fare such as 'The Town,' 'Romeo + Juliet' and the Spielberg hits 'Amistad' and 'The Lost World: Jurassic Park.'