PIERCE BROSNAN has paid a touching tribute to the “greatest James Bond", Sir Sean Connery, following the Scottish actor’s sad passing.
Connery died “peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family” at his home in the Bahamas this past Saturday, aged 90.
While the Edinburgh-born actor, who had some Irish ancestry, enjoyed many notable highlights during his five-decade career, he will always be synonymous with the role of 007.
Connery set the template against which all future James Bond actors were measured – including Brosnan.
Landing the role of Bond represented the high point of Brosnan’s fledgling career back in the mid-1990s and came just a few years after contractual obligations saw him miss out on the part to Timothy Dalton.
Few actors get a second bite at the cherry, but the Drogheda-born Brosnan got another chance a few years later after Dalton vacated the role – and he didn’t think twice about taking it.
Reacting to the news of Connery’s passing, Brosnan recalled how he and every other Bond that followed on from Connery, looked to the Scot "with reverence and admiration".
Brosnan also recalled Connery was one of his screen idols growing up.
"Sir Sean Connery, you were my greatest James Bond as a boy, and as a man who became James Bond himself. You cast a long shadow of cinematic splendour that will live on forever.
"You led the way for us all who followed in your iconic foot steps. Each man in his turn looked to you with reverence and admiration as we forged ahead with our own interpretations of the role.
"You were mighty in every way, as an actor and as a man, and will remain so till the end of time. You were loved by the world, and will be missed. God bless, rest now, be at peace."
Fellow James Bond actor George Lazenby also paid his respects on Instagram.
“Only a few weeks ago I was wishing Sean all the best for his 90th birthday. Now, I'm very sad to be condoling with his family and friends.
“Of course, Sean Connery as James Bond inspired me personally but seems to have encapsulated an age, the Sixties. I met Sean a couple of times and I was pleased he'd given my Bond film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, his seal of approval.
“He was going to do my film many times and felt it was the best of the Fleming tales. But, to me, the most important thing was his work went far beyond Bond: into charity, into family, into politics and into golf.
“A man after my own heart. A great actor, a great man and underappreciated artist has left us. My thoughts are with Lady Micheline and Sean's children and grandchildren.”