Jonathan Demme, the Oscar-winning director most famous for Stop Making Sense, The Silence Of The Lambs, Philadelphia, and Rachel Getting Married, has died.

A source close to his family has said that the cause of death was esophageal cancer and complications from heart disease.

Demme had been treated for the latter off and on since 2010, but his condition reportedly worsened in recent weeks, and he died in his native New York this morning. He was 73.

His publicist told the Press Association: "Sadly, I can confirm that Jonathan passed away early this morning in his Manhattan apartment, surrounded by his wife, Joanne Howard, and three children.

"He died from complications from oesophageal cancer. and is survived by his children Ramona, age 29, and her husband James Molloy, Brooklyn, age 26, and Jos, age 21.

"There will be a private family funeral. Any possible further plans will be announced later. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to Americans For Immigrant Justice in Miami."

Demme made his debut with the biker film Angels Hard as They Come in 1971. 

His reputation and success grew in the 1980s with comedy films like Melvin and Howard in 1980, Swing Shift in 1984, Something Wild in 1986 and Married to the Mob in 1988.

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In 1984 he directed the groundbreaking Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense. The film has since come to be regarded as the best concert movie ever made. 

He won his Oscar for directing The Silence of the Lambs in 1991, his hugely successful adaptation of Thomas Harris novel which starred Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins.

Demme also made AIDs drama Philadelphia starring Tom Hanks in 1993 and Rachel Getting Married in 2008 which starred Anne Hathaway.

Justin Timberlake pictured with Demme

His more recent credits include the 2016 documentary Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids and an episode of the TV series Shots Fired.