Andrew Lesnie, an Oscar-winning Australian cinematographer famed for his work in "The Lord of the Rings" series, has died, friends and colleagues said on Wednesday. He was 59 years old.
Lesnie died on Monday after suffering a heart condition for six months, according to the Australian Cinematographers Society, the Associated Press reported. The Sydney native won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" in 2002. He went on to work with New Zealand director Peter Jackson on all six of “The Lord of the Rings” movies, as well as the prequel “Hobbit” films, and Jackson’s other movies, “King Kong” and “The Lovely Bones.”
Jackson hired Lesnie after seeing his work on the 1995 film “Babe.”
"I'd never worked with him or even met him before, but he'd shot the Babe films and I thought they looked amazing," Jackson reportedly said in a 2004 interview. "Babe had that larger-than-life feel about it that I wanted."
Jackson posted a tribute to Lesnie on his Facebook page late Tuesday.
“Being an only child, I grew up wondering what it would be like to have a brother. It wasn’t until today, in trying to deal with the terrible news of Andrew’s passing, that I came to realise how much he had become that person for me — someone I could intrinsically love and trust — which I know now means someone who is up for all the good and the bad.
“Andrew was an irreplaceable part of my family and I am in total disbelief that I’ll never again hear his infectious laugh, nor benefit from his quiet wisdom, or enjoy his generous praise. Andrew created unforgettable, beautiful images on screen, and he did this time and again, because he only ever served what he believed in — he was his own artist, separate from me, but always working generously to make what we were trying to create together better,” he wrote.
Lesnie had also worked with acclaimed filmmakers including George Miller and Russell Crowe during his nearly 40-year career. "The master of the light, genius Andrew Lesnie has passed on," Crowe said in a tweet late Monday.