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Hollywood shocked by Top Gun director's death

hollywood Updated: Aug 21, 2012 18:32 IST

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Filmmakers and fans were in shock Monday after learning that Tony Scott, director of action thrillers Top Gun and Days of Thunder, had jumped to his death from a California bridge.

Police and the US Coast Guard pulled the 68-year-old Scott's body out of the water near the Vincent Thomas Bridge over Los Angeles Harbor on Sunday, the LA County coroner's office said.

The Los Angeles police department has opened an investigation and an autopsy was conducted Monday, said LA county coroner's office spokesman Ed Winter. The findings were not released, pending results of toxicology tests.

ABC News had reported that Scott had been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, but Winter said he could not confirm or deny the report, adding that the examination of Scott's brain could not be completed on Monday.

Celebrity news website TMZ then reported that Scott's widow, actress Donna Wilson, told investigators that rumors her husband suffered from a brain tumor were "absolutely false" and that he did not suffer from any serious illness.

Investigators found a suicide note in his office, the Los Angeles Times reported. Its contents have not been revealed.

A witness saw Scott climb over a fence on the bridge and jump into the water, according to Lieutenant Joseph Bale of the coroner's office. Other witnesses said they later saw Scott's shoes floating in the water.

Authorities summoned divers and a helicopter in a bid to find Scott's body in the port's murky waters and recovered it at approximately 3:00 pm, four hours after he jumped, Bale said.

Scott was the younger brother of fellow film director Ridley Scott, the maker of Oscar-winning movies like Gladiator and Black Hawk Down as well as other hits like Blade Runner.

The family confirmed Scott's death, but offered no further details.

"I can confirm that Tony Scott has indeed passed away," the late director's spokeswoman, Katherine Rowe, told reporters. "The family asks that their privacy be respected at this time."

Scott, who was born in Britain in 1944, made his mark in the mid-1980s when he directed Top Gun, an action-filled blockbuster about elite navy pilots featuring then-rising star Tom Cruise.