This is turning out to be a sad week in the showbiz world. First, the passing of revered veteran film critic Richard Corliss, now this. Last night, Oscar-winning Australian cinematographer Andrew Lesnie passed away of a sudden heart attack. He was 59.

His death was confirmed by the Australian Cinematographers Society with the statement: “We have been advised of the sudden death of Andrew.” Among his long list of credits, Lesnie was a long-time collaborator of director Peter Jackson, with whom he worked on the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies, as well as “King Kong” and “The Lovely Bones”.

Lesnie won an Oscar in 2002 for “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”. He also helped Aussie director George Miller bring “Babe” to life, and guided the then-relatively inexperienced Rupert Wyatt to craft some great visuals for “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”.

Jackson was among the first to come forward with a public eulogy, with a message on his official Facebook page saying: “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, also wrote a touching tribute 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.”

Rest in Peace, Mr. Lesnie. Thanks for all the beautiful imagery.


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