German director Wolfgang Petersen, who achieved international fame with films 'Das Boot', 'Outbreak' and 'Air Force One', has died aged 81, a spokeswoman said.

Mr Petersen, who directed Hollywood A-listers including Clint Eastwood, Dustin Hoffman, George Clooney, Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt over a career spanning five decades, died in Los Angeles on Friday.

Born in Emden, Germany in 1941, Mr Petersen scored his first major success with World War II submarine thriller 'Das Boot', adapted from a novel of the same name about the Battle of the Atlantic.

The film earned him two Oscar nominations at the 1983 Academy Awards, including for best director.

He released his first English-language film - children's fantasy film 'The NeverEnding Story' - the following year.

He transitioned to Hollywood action and disaster movies in the 1990s, working with Clint Eastwood and John Malkovich in assassination thriller 'In The Line of Fire', and directing Dustin Hoffman in the pandemic-themed 'Outbreak'.

Glenn Close, who starred alongside Harrison Ford in Mr Petersen's 'Air Force One', said in a statement that being directed by the German "remains a special memory".

"Even though the script was thrilling and incredibly intense, I remember a lot of laughs, especially in the scenes around the huge table in the War Room," she wrote.

"My memory is of a man full of joie de vivre who was doing what he most loved to do," added Ms Close.

In the 2000s, Mr Petersen directed George Clooney in 'The Perfect Storm' and Brad Pitt in 'Troy'.

He died at his residence in Brentwood, Los Angeles in the arms of his wife of 50 years, Maria Antoinette.

Mr Petersen is also survived by his son Daniel, his wife, and two grandchildren, Maja and Julien.