Robert Altman dies at 81

Robert Altman, the legendary director of such movies as M*A*S*H, The Player and Gosford Park has passed away, aged 81.

Famous for his unique style of filmmaking and his use of ensemble casts, the maverick director was nominated five times for a best director Oscar but never got his hands on the gong. He was honoured at this year's ceremony for his services to film.

Altman never conformed or chased fashion and this often led to him being critically mauled. That said, his innovative work stands as a testament to a long and rich career.

No cause of death was given but the director underwent a heart transplant surgery in 1995.