British actor Sir Roger Moore, best known for playing the iconic role of James Bond in seven separate Bond films, died Tuesday at age 89, according to BBC News. How did Roger Moore die? Moore's family confirmed the news on Twitter Tuesday morning, and wrote that the actor had endured "a short but brave battle with cancer." In the statement, Moore's children Debora, Geoffrey and Christian wrote that while they were understandably saddened by their father's passing, "the love with which he was surrounded in his final days was so great it cannot be quantified."
Despite being a celebrated Brit — the London-born star became a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1999 for his charity work with UNICEF, and was later made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in June 2003, according to The Mirror — Moore actually died in Switzerland, where he owned a chalet and spent much of his time, according to The Telegraph. According to his children's Twitter statement, Moore's private funeral will be held in Monaco, where he and his wife also called home, and where he told The Telegraph he "felt most comfortable."
Having played James Bond for twelve years, Moore was actually the longest-serving actor to assume the iconic role, according to The Mirror. In 1973 he made his 007 debut in Live and Let Die, taking over for his predecessor, Sean Connery. He then went on to film six more films — The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill — before giving it up in 1985.
As the oldest actor to play the role (Moore was 58 when he retired from the franchise), he told reporters that he eventually felt that "jumping around with bullets and bombs in [his] middle-fifties was really daft," and that it made him embarrassed to film love scenes with actresses "who were young enough to be his daughters," according to The Mirror. But in 2014, Moore told The Guardian he was grateful to have played James Bond as long as he did, and that he was more than happy to forever be known for the role. Moore said,
Being eternally known as Bond has no downside. People often call me 'Mr Bond' when we’re out and I don’t mind a bit. Why would I?
Despite his success as an actor though, Moore's children said in their statement Tuesday that it was actually his "passionate work for UNICEF" that he felt was "his greatest achievement." According to The Mirror, Moore first became interested in humanitarian aid work while filming on location in India in 1983, and that it was the late Audrey Hepburn who led him to become Goodwill Ambassador for the organization in 1991. Years late, Moore told The Guardian that it was what he was most proud of:
The knighthood for my humanitarian work meant more than if it had been for my acting. I’m sure some people would say, 'What does an actor know about world issues?' But I’ve become an expert on things from the causes of dwarfism to the benefits of breastfeeding. I feel very privileged.
Unsurprisingly, the news of Moore's death has caused waves on social media, where many expressed their sadness over the loss, and their fondness for the beloved actor:
Moore is survived by his three children, and his wife, Kristina, whom he married in 2002.