Oscar-Winning Lord of the Rings DP Andrew Lesnie Dead at 59

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It’s with heavy heart that we report that Australian cinematographer Andrew Lesnie, who worked closely with Peter Jackson on his groundbreaking “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies, as well as King Kong and The Lovely Bones, has passed away at the age of 59 from a sudden heart attack.

His death was confirmed by the Australian Cinematographers Society with the statement: “We have been advised of the sudden death of Andrew.” His family preparing an official statement to be released soon

Lesnie’s work on “The Lord of the Rings” movies won him an Oscar specfically for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in 2002, but he also was involved with the decision by Jackson to film “The Hobbit” films in high-frame 48FPS digital, the first movie to ever use such technology.

Lesnie’s career spanned over thirty years with his earlier contributions to Australian cinema being his involvement filming George Miller’s Oscar-winning Babe and its sequel Babe: Pig in the City. Other credits include Rise of the Planet of the ApesI Am Legend and The Last Airbender

Most recently, Lesnie was the cinematographer on Russell Crowe’s directorial debut The Water Diviner, which opened this past weekend. Crowe took to Twitter to offer his own sad statement on losing Lesnie:

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UPDATE: Peter Jackson has spoken up with a heartfelt post on his Facebook page including a number of terrific pictures of himself with Andrew. Here’s an excerpt of what Jackson said about his brother in filmmaking: 

“Dearest Andrew, you never sought nor wanted praise – you never needed to hear how good you were, you only ever cared about doing great work and respecting the work of others. But on behalf of all those who were lucky enough to collaborate with you, love you and in turn, respect your mastery of story, of light and of cinema magic – you are one of the great cinematographers of our time.”

WETA Workshop owners Richard and Tania Taylor, whom also worked closely with Lesnie, also made the following statement on Facebook:

“The Weta Workshop team are saddened to hear the news that Andrew Lesnie has passed away today. Our memories of Andrew will always be of a wonderful and caring person who looked out for the technicians around him, was keen to have a good laugh and keep everyone jollied along even when things were at the most stressful for everyone. Our condolences to Andrew’s family from all his friends at Weta Workshop.”

(Photo credit: Mike Nelson/Getty Images)

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