Jazz saxophonist John Dankworth has died at the age of 82.

During a career spanning more than six decades, Mr Dankworth worked with Nat King Cole, Ella FitzGerald and Charlie Parker and wrote the theme tune for the television series, 'The Avengers'.

He was married to jazz singer Cleo Laine.

Speaking in New York, his agent, Jim Murtha, said Mr Dankworth's fame was worldwide.

Mr Dankworth was born in Essex in England in 1927.

He played the clarinet as a boy before entering the prestigious Royal Academy of Music in London at 17.

Inspired by the American jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker, he switched instruments and soon began composing, arranging and recording music on both sides of the Atlantic.

In 1959, Dankworth and his jazz orchestra began touring the US and they performed with Duke Ellington, who later became a close friend.