Charlton Heston, who wrote a career over 50 years as an acclaimed actor and recognized for his heroic roles in epic movies for Hollywood, died on Saturday night at his home in Beverly Hills.
He died at the age of 84 with his wife Lydia at his side, said Bill Powers, the spokesman of the family. Although no further details were given about his death it was known that Heston was suffering of Alzheimer after he publically announced it in 2002.
I'm neither giving up nor giving in, Heston said at the time.
In a statement of his family, the actor is described as larger than life by fans, as an adoring husband, kind and devoted father, gentle grandfather with an infectious sense of humor.
He served these far greater roles with tremendous faith, courage and dignity. He loved deeply, and he was deeply loved, his family added in the statement.
His career included epic legendary movies of the 1950's and 1960's such as the Ten Commandments where he brought alive Moses, El Cid and 55 Days at Peking. In 1959 his performance in Ben Hur made him the winner of the Oscar for Best Actor.
Other films where he participated were Planet of the Apes (1960's), Touch of Evil (1958) directed by Orson Welles, The Greatest Show on Earth, The Agony, The Omega Man (1971) and his most recent appearance in the Planet of the Apes from Tim Burton in 2001. Charlton Heston made about 100 movies.
The acclaimed actor was also the longest serving president in the Screen Actors Guild, and also chairman of the American Film Institute.
Adding diversity to his movie career, in the decade of the 60's he supported Martin Luther King campaign for human rights. His humanitarian activities rewarded him with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Jean Hersholt Award.
He joined the National Rifle Association and became president of the organization from 1998 until 2003. In April 2003 Heston was given the Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.
Charlton Heston - whose original name was Charles Carter and was born in 1923 in a Chicago- was also a writer and penned several books including The Actor's Life: Journals 1956-1976,; Beijing Diary: 1990, In the Arena: An Autobiography, 1995; and Charlton Heston's Hollywood: 50 Years of American Filmmaking, 1998.
Prior to his announcement observing symptoms of Alzheimer, in 1999 Mr. Heston announced he was in radiation treatment for prostate cancer.