Tributes are being paid to actor Paul Newman who died aged 83 after losing his battle with cancer.

President Mary McAleese expressed her deep sadness at Mr Newman’s passing.

‘Paul Newman was a true friend of Ireland,' she said.

‘[He] rightly achieved fame for his performances as an actor, however, he will always have a special place in the memory of Irish people for his inspirational role at Barretstown over the last 14 years.’

Paying tribute to Mr Newman, former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds said he was an inspirational character.

Mr Reynold's first met the actor at the Budweiser Derby when Mr Newman wanted to find a home for his Barrettstown Gang.

Acting Chief Executive of Barretstown Mary Conway said: 'Staff, volunteers, former campers and supporters of Barretstown were extremely saddened this morning when we heard of the death of our founder Paul Newman.

'Paul was a screen legend, an icon of huge proportions, but above all for us he was the man who gave Barretstown its start in 1994.'

Born in 1925 in Cleveland Ohio, Mr Newman appeared in some 60 movies, including Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Hustler, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Sting.

He earned nine Oscar nominations for acting and won the best actor honour for 1986's The Color of Money.

As a young man, he joined the Navy and saw active service in World War II, later returning to drama school in Yale and New York, before moving to Hollywood.

A renowned actor, producer and director Mr Newman is also remembered for his love for racing car driving and as a humanitarian.

He founded a food company, Newman's Own, from which all the proceeds go to charity.

Among the organisations benefiting from his work is the Barretstown Camp for seriously ill children in Co Kildare.

The screen star was married twice and had six children, one of whom, Scott, died in 1978.

His second marriage to actress Joanne Woodward lasted for half a century and was known as one of the most stable in Hollywood.