Peter O'Toole's agent Steve Kenis has disclosed to the media that the veteran actor died on Saturday at 81. He was in the hospital, where he had been battling an undisclosed illness for a long time. O'Toole retired from acting last year, but his legend began with his instantly iconic performance as T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia. Since then he's led a long and storied career, balancing awards-ready portrayals of royal figures like King Henry II in Becket or Julius Caesar in Caligula with mainstream fare such as Supergirl.

Most recently, he appeared on a season of Showtime's The Tudors and lent his voice talents to Anton the restaurant critic in Ratatouille. Despite his tour de force performances, O'Toole holds the record for most Academy Award nominations without a win, having lost out eight times during his career, most recently in 2006, for Venus, to Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland.

His daughter Kate released this statement from his family: "We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of real love and affection being expressed towards him, and to us, during this unhappy time. In due course there will be a memorial filled with song and good cheer, as he would have wished."

[via ABCNews]