Veteran actor Donald Sutherland has died, aged 88, following a long illness.

His son, actor Kiefer Sutherland, confirmed the news in a touching tribute.

“With a heavy heart, I tell you that my father, Donald Sutherland, has passed away. I personally think one of the most important actors in the history of film.”

“Never daunted by a role, good, bad or ugly. He loved what he did and did what he loved, and one can never ask for more than that. A life well lived.”

Known for his distinctive voice and towering presence, Donald’s remarkable versatility made him a staple in both blockbuster hits and independent films. His career spanned more than half a century, with almost 200 credits to his name, including The Dirty Dozen, Animal House, Pride & Prejudice and, more recently, The Hunger Games.

Born on July 17, 1935 in Saint John, New Brunswick, Sutherland initially pursued a career in engineering before turning to acting.

His breakthrough role came in 1970 where his portrayal of Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H catapulted him to fame.

He continued to captivate audiences with memorable performances in ‘Don’t Look Now,’ ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers,’ and ‘Ordinary People,’ for which he received widespread acclaim.

His contributions to the arts were recognised with numerous awards, including an Honorary Oscar in 2017.

Sutherland is recognised as one of the most prolific actors and was a vocal anti-war activist.

He worked right up to his death.