Academy Award-winning director Anthony Minghella died today at 54, the Guardian reports. Minghella won the 1997 best director Oscar for The English Patient and was nominated as a screenwriter for The Talented Mr. Ripley in 2000. "This is a shattering blow from someone who was a major figure in an important industry and had a lot to go on and contribute," fellow director Lord Puttnam told the Guardian.
Lord Puttnam called Minghella "a storyteller in the classic British tradition." Jude Law, who appeared in three Minghella projects, called him "a brilliantly talented writer and director who wrote dialogue that was a joy to speak." The director had recently completed an adaptation of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, set in Botswana, and was working on two other film projects. Minghella suffered a fatal hemorrhage a week after surgery for cancer of the tonsils and neck.