LORD of the Rings actor Sir Ian Holm has died aged 88 after a brief battle with Parkinson's disease

Known worldwide for his portrayal of Bilbo Baggins, one of the thespian's first forays into the world of drama came when he moved to Sussex as a child.

Sir Ian was born in Essex but moved several times during his childhood.

He and his parents ended up in Worthing, where he joined an amateur dramatic society.

A glittering career followed, with roles in major films including Chariots of Fire, Time Bandits and Alien.

His success has been honoured by friends and peers today, after his agent shared the news of his death.

A statement from his agent Alex Irwin said: "It is with great sadness we can confirm that the actor Sir Ian Holm CBE passed away this morning at the age of 88.

"He died peacefully in hospital, with his family and carer. His illness was Parkinson’s related.

"An established star of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Harold Pinter’s favourite actor, (he won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor as Lenny in The Homecoming), Sir Ian was globally recognised for his extraordinarily impressive and varied career which included highlights such as Chariots of Fire, The Fifth Element, Alien, The Sweet Hereafter, Time Bandits, The Emperor’s New Clothes and The Madness of King George.

"His portrayal of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies ensured the magic of his craft could be shared by all generations.

"He was a genius of stage and screen, winning multiple awards and loved by directors, audiences and his colleagues alike. His sparkling wit always accompanied a mischievous twinkle in his eye.

"Charming, kind and ferociously talented, we will miss him hugely."

His role as Sam Mussabini in Chariots Of Fire earned him a special award at the Cannes Film Festival, a Bafta award and an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor.

This Bafta win was one of six nominations he received for the prestigious award throughout his career.

The academy paid its respects to Sir Ian following his death, sharing an image of him accepting his 1981 award for Chariots of Fire.

A spokesman said: "We are very sorry to hear of the death of Ian Holm.

"Nominated for six Baftas in his wide-ranging and successful career across TV and film, he is pictured here winning the Supporting Actor award for his role in Chariots Of Fire in 1981."