Legendary James Bond star Roger Moore has died in Switzerland aged 89 after a "short but brave" battle with cancer.

His family confirmed the sad news on his official Twitter account, writing: "With the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated."

The statement continued: "The love with which he was surrounded in his final days was so great it cannot be quantified in words alone.

"We know our own love and admiration will be magnified many times over, across the world, by people who knew him for his films, his television shows, and his passionate work for UNICEF which he considered to be his greatest achievement.

"The affection our father felt whenever he walked on to a stage or in front of a camera buoyed him hugely and kept him busy working into his 90th year, through to his last appearance in November 2016 on stage at London's Royal Festival Hall.

"The capacity crowd cheered him on and off stage, shaking the very foundations of the building just a short distance from where he was born.

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"Thank you Pops for being you, and for being so very special to so many people.

"Our thoughts must now turn to supporting Kristina at this difficult time, and in accordance with our father's wishes there will be a private funeral in Monaco."

Roger Moore pictured in 2015 with his wife Kristina Tholstrup 

The London-born star came to worldwide fame as the hero Simon Templar in the television series The Saint which ran for six seasons between 1962 and 1969.

Roger Moore struggles with Barry Morse in The Saint, 1962

In 1972, the British actor replaced Sean Connery as 007 in Live and Let Die, and went on to star in seven James Bond movies in total including The Spy Who Loved Me and Octopussy, finishing his stint in the role with 1985's A View to a Kill.

Roger Moore filming Live and Let Die in 1973

His portrayal of the famous spy was notable for its lightheartedness. He often showed Bond to be something of a playboy, but also a very capable and seasoned agent.

After seven big-screen outings over the course of 12 years, Moore decided to call it quits as Bond. "I realised that jumping around with bullets and bombs in my middle-fifties was really daft," he said.

Other much-loved films in his lengthy career included The Man Who Haunted Himself, Shout at the Devil, North Sea Hijack and The Wild Geese. While it only ran for one season, his 1971-72 adventure series with the late Tony Curtis, The Persuaders, is another fan favourite. 

Moore is survived by his children Deborah, Geoffrey and Christian and his wife Kristina Tholstrup, who he married in 2002.

Roger Moore is survived by his three children and wife Kristina Tholstrup

A regular visitor to Ireland over the years as part of his work as a Goodwill Ambassador with UNICEF, Roger Moore was a much-loved interviewee on RTÉ Radio and Television, with his final Late Late Showappearance airing in October 2016.