LONDON • British actor Roger Moore, who played the womanising superspy James Bond over two decades, died yesterday aged 89, his children announced.
"It is with a heavy heart that we must announce our loving father, Sir Roger Moore, has passed away today in Switzerland after a short but brave battle with cancer," they said in a statement on Twitter yesterday.
"We are all devastated," his children Deborah, Geoffrey and Christian said.
They added: "Thank you Pops for being you, and for being so very special to so many people."
Moore won fame as smooth-talking adventurer Simon Templar in British television show The Saint in the 1960s, and also starred alongside Tony Curtis in The Persuaders in the 1970s.
But it was not until 1973, at the age of 45, that he won the role that for many fans would come to define him - as novelist Ian Fleming's fictional secret agent.
Moore made his debut as 007 in Live And Let Die, following it with six more films, only bowing out with 1985's A View To A Kill, when he was 57.
IT'S PURE LUCK
During my early acting years, I was told that to succeed, you needed personality, talent and luck in equal measure. I contest that. For me, it's been 99 per cent luck. It's no good being talented and not being in the right place at the right time.
ACTOR ROGER MOORE, speaking in 2014 about his long career.
In later years, Moore became known for his humanitarian work, notably through his activities as a Unicef ambassador, helping to raise funds for underprivileged children.
"With the passing of Sir Roger Moore, the world has lost one of its great champions for children - and the entire Unicef family has lost a great friend," said the United Nations agency's executive director Anthony Lake.
Moore's children said he considered the Unicef work - for which he was given a knighthood in 2003 - his "greatest achievement".
"The affection our father felt whenever he walked onto a stage or in front of a camera buoyed him hugely and kept him busy working into his 90th year, through to his last appearance in November 2016 on stage at London's Royal Festival Hall," the statement read.
Born Roger George Moore on Oct 14, 1927, in the London suburb of Stockwell, he was the only son of a police constable and his wife, and had a happy childhood.
Moore began his acting career as an extra in the 1940s, but it was not until 20 years later that he achieved worldwide fame in The Saint.
Knighted in 2003, Moore was married four times.
His children said their thoughts were with his fourth wife Kristina, adding that there would be a private funeral in Monaco.
AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE