Powers Boothe, the Emmy-winning American actor best known for his roles in Sin City, Southern Comfort, Nashville and 24, has died. He was 68.

The veteran character actor passed away in his sleep on Sunday morning, his spokesperson told US entertainment trade publication Variety.

The Texan's stage and screen career spanned five decades with his Emmy win coming in 1980 for his portrayal of cult leader and mass murderer Jim Jones in Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones.  

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Boothe followed his Emmy success with the lead role opposite Keith Carradine in director Walter Hill's Southern Comfort, the story of a squad of National Guards who are hunted in the swamps of Louisiana. Since its release in 1981, the film has become a cult favourite.

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On the big screen, Boothe's other credits included The Emerald Forest, Tombstone, Nixon, Marvel Avengers Assemble and Frailty, the feature directorial debut of fellow Texan actor Bill Paxton, who passed away earlier this year.

L-R Tom Berenger, Powers Boothe, Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton at a screening of their series Hatfields & McCoys in Santa Monica, California in May 2012

On television, Boothe's lengthy CV included Deadwood, 24, Justice League, Hatfields & McCoys,  Marvel's Agents of SHIELD and Nashville.

Among those paying tribute was fellow actor Beau Bridges, who broke the news of Boothe's passing and described him as "a dear friend, great actor, devoted father and husband".