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Joel Schumacher, iconic director of 'The Lost Boys', has died age 80

Joel Schumacher, the legendary and hugely celebrated director, has died at the age of 80.

The news was confirmed by Schumacher’s publicists who explained that the filmmaker had been battling cancer for more than a year.

Schumacher, who had fronted a series of major big budget films for the better part of the 1980s and 1990s, famously directed projects such as St. Elmo’s Fire, The Lost Boys and Flatliners which propelled him to international fame.

With his stock rising, Schumacher directed The Client and A Time to Kill, Falling Down and 8mm which were all met by critical acclaim before he moved closer to the mainstream and helmed two instalments of the Batman film series with his blockbuster efforts Batman Forever  and Batman & Robin.

As well as honing his unique stylistic approach to cinema, Schumacher has also been credited as a figurehead in launching the careers of major Hollywood actors such as Matthew McConaughey,  Colin Farrell, Kiefer Sutherland and more by casting them early in their foray into film.

“His joy, spirit and talent will live on in my heart and memory for the rest of my life,” Sutherland said in tribute after learning of his death. “Joel gave me opportunities and lifelong lessons, making films such as The Lost Boys, Flatliners, A Time To Kill and Phonebooth.”

He added: “His mark on modern culture and film will live on forever. I will miss you, my friend.”

As tributes continue to flood in, Ben Stiller took to social media to say: “He was kind, talented and made movies we went to the theatres for. A true professional, and a magnetic presence.”

He added: “Joel saw something in me as an actor I didn’t see and gave me the confidence and space to pursue it. Unfairly savaged by critics his entire career, his great work will live on.”

Catherine Zeta-Jones commented: “I adored Joel Schumacher and I am saddened by his passing today. I so wish that I could have worked with him, but to know him was to love him,” in a post on social media. “Rest In Peace Joel,’ she added.