Burt Reynolds has passed. The legendary star of films like Deliverance, The Longest Yard, and Smokey and the Bandit was found dead on Thursday afternoon from what appeared to be a heart attack. He was 82. Reynolds’ niece Nancy Lee Hess released a statement saying that the actor had been dealing with health issues, but his death was still unexpected.
Reynolds was one of the world’s biggest movie stars during the 1970s, and his legacy has inspired fellow actors and close friends to pay tribute to him.
Reynolds’ Smokey and the Bandit co-star and former girlfriend Sally Field
released a statement that read: “There are times in your life that are so indelible, they never fade away. They stay alive, even forty years later. My years with Burt never leave my mind. He will be in my history and my heart, for as long as I live. Rest, Buddy.”
Other celebrities took to Twitter and Instagram to pay their respects. Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, action stars who were peers of Reynolds during the 1980s, cited him as an inspiration. “Burt Reynolds was one of my heroes. He was a trailblazer,” Schwarzenegger wrote. “He showed the way to transition from being an athlete to being the highest paid actor, and he always inspired me. He also had a great sense of humor.”
Mark Wahlberg, who starred opposite Reynolds in Boogie Nights, wrote that he was both “a legend and a friend.” James Woods was similarly awestruck by the late Reynolds, writing: “I finally got to work with one of my heroes in 2006,” added James Woods. “#BurtReynolds led a really fun cast in Spokane and we laughed all day, every day he was on the set. A wry humor and a warm heart defined this wonderful man. He will be sorely missed.”
Other ’70s icons like Erik Estrada, Dolly Parton and Billy Dee Williams said that Reynolds’ presence, both onscreen and off, will be sorely missed. “So sad hearing about the passing of Burt Reynolds,” wrote Estrada. “Such a nice man, true friend & a good soul! You left this world with wonderful memories… We will miss you my friend- RIP.”
Check out additional tributes from those who were influenced by Reynolds’ work; including Danny Trejo, Patton Oswalt, Matthew Modine and filmmakers Kevin Smith and Edgar Wright.
Several athletes also paid their respects to Reynolds, who played football at Florida State before becoming an actor.
“Very sad to hear about the passing of Burt Reynolds,” wrote boxer Oscar De La Hoya. “So fortunate that I got to work with him on a commercial – a true legend. You will be missed. My condolences to his family. RIP.” Other tributes from Tony Hawk and former NFL player Jarrett Payton.
Lee Corso, an ESPN analyst and old friend of Reynolds, also released a statement via text that read: “Burt was a life-long friend, who was extremely close to me for the last 64 years,” Corso wrote. “We have always stayed in touch through the good and the bad times of our lives, talking about once a month for as long as I can remember.”
Reynolds also received tributes from the likes of country singer Toby Keith and NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Reynolds was set to have a bit part in the upcoming Quentin Tarantino film Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, but he hadn’t yet shot his scenes. It is unclear who will step in for the part. Reynolds’ last film was the aptly titled The Last Movie Star, which was directed by Adam Rifkin is currently available on demand.