British director Michael Apted, who is known for films such as Gorillas in the Mist and Coal Miner's Daughter, as well as his long-running series of Up documentaries, has died at the age of 79.

The award-winning filmmaker also directed James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, fantasy sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and 24 episodes of Coronation Street from June 1966 to July 1967.

Apted's agent confirmed the news of his passing but his cause of death has not yet been revealed.

Michael Apted with his wife Paige Simpson

Thomas Schlamme, the president of the Directors Guild of America, paid tribute to him in a statement.

"Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the passing of esteemed director, longtime DGA leader and my friend Michael Apted.

"His legacy will forever be woven into the fabric of cinema and our Guild."

Bridesmaids director Paul Feig also paid tribute to Apted saying "he was always so kind to me and I was such a great admirer of his work."

Gale Anne Hurd, producer of Aliens and The Terminator, tweeted: "Another legendary filmmaker gone … a brilliant documentarian and a wonderful colleague. Do yourself a favor and check out his terrific filmography."

The official Twitter page for the Oscars also paid tribute.

"Director Michael Apted will always be remembered for the groundbreaking documentary "Up" series," the post said.

"A past president of the Directors Guild and Academy Governor, he also made many acclaimed feature films, from "Coal Miner's Daughter" to "The World Is Not Enough." He will be missed."

Screenwriter John Fusco, who worked with Apted on the film Thunderheart, tweeted: "Sad to learn of the passing of brilliant film director Michael Apted.

"In directing 'Thunderheart' he was the only director to ever truly capture one of my screenplays as envisioned. Excelsior, Mate."

A post on the Twitter account of the band Garbage, who performed the theme for The World Is Not Enough, labelled Apted a "delightful, charming soul".

"Thank you for sprinkling us with some of your stardust," the post added.

Apted is survived by his wife, Paige Simpson, sons Jim and John, and daughter Lily Mellis.