James Bond actor Sean Connery has died aged 90

Hollywood actor Sean Connery has passed away at the age of 90.

“His wife Micheline and his two sons Jason and Stephane have confirmed that he died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family,” family spokesperson Nancy Seltzer said on Saturday.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “heartbroken to learn this morning of the passing of Sir Sean Connery. Our nation today mourns one of her best loved sons”.

“Sean was a global legend but, first and foremost, he was a patriotic and proud Scot.”

Connery was raised in near poverty in the slums of Edinburgh and worked as a coffin polisher, milkman and lifeguard before his bodybuilding hobby helped launch an acting career that made him one of the world’s biggest stars.

Connery will be remembered first as British agent 007, the character created by novelist Ian Fleming and immortalised by Connery in films starting with Dr No in 1962.

He would introduce himself in the movies with the signature line, “Bond – James Bond”. But Connery was unhappy being defined by the role and once said he “hated … James Bond”.

Connery played a series of noteworthy roles besides Bond and won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a tough Chicago police officer in the 1987 film The Untouchables.

Connery was also an ardent supporter of Scotland’s independence and had the words “Scotland Forever” tattooed on his arm while serving in the Royal Navy.

When he was knighted at the age of 69 by Queen Elizabeth in 2000 at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, he wore full Scottish dress including the green-and-black plaid kilt of his mother’s MacLeod clan.