Poignant photo of James Bond star Sean Connery before death

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The last known photo of James Bond icon Sean Connery has emerged after news broke the acting legend had died aged 90.

The Scottish actor made a name for himself as the suave secret agent, James Bond, and then went on to carve out an Oscar-winning career in several other roles.

The news of his death was confirmed by his wife and two sons, who said he “died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family” in the Bahamas, where the 90-year-old lived.

His son Jason Connery said his father had been “unwell for some time”.

"A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor," he told the BBC.

Sean Connery on his 89th birthday with son Jason Connery and his partner Fiona Upton.
Sean Connery smiles with his son Jason and his partner Fiona Upton last year. Source: Twitter/@fifibaggins

In one of the last known photos of Connery posted on social media, he is seen on his 89th birthday last year.

His son Jason and his partner Fiona Upton are seen smiling next to Connery.

The photo was shared by Ms Upton on Twitter last August, wishing Connery a happy birthday.

Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said they were "devastated" by the news.

They said Connery's "gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent" was largely responsible for the success of the film series.

Connery was raised in the slums of Edinburgh and worked as a coffin polisher, milkman and lifeguard before his bodybuilding hobby helped launch an acting career that made him one of the world's biggest stars.

Sean Connery wears a black suit and poses for the camera.
Sir Sean Connery died at the age of 90 surrounded by family in his home in the Bahamas. Source: AP

He will be remembered first as British agent 007, the character created by novelist Ian Fleming and immortalised by Connery in films starting with Dr No in 1962.

As Bond, his debonair manner and wry humour in foiling flamboyant villains and cavorting with beautiful women belied a darker, violent edge, and he crafted a depth of character that set the standard for those who followed him in the role.

He would introduce himself in the movies with the signature line, "Bond – James Bond". But Connery was unhappy being defined by the role and once said he "hated that damned James Bond".

The current James Bond, Daniel Craig, hailed Connery as "one of the true greats of cinema".

Craig, who is due to appear as Bond for the final time in the delayed No Time To Die, shared a tribute via the official Bond Twitter account.

"It is with such sadness that I heard of the passing of one of the true greats of cinema. Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more. He defined an era and a style,” the 52-year-old said.

"The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in mega watts; he helped create the modern blockbuster. He will continue to influence actors and filmmakers alike for years to come.

"My thoughts are with his family and loved ones. Wherever he is, I hope there is a golf course."

Connery played a series of noteworthy roles besides Bond and won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a tough Chicago cop in The Untouchables (1987).

His non-Bond films included director Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie (1964), The Wind and the Lion (1975) with Candice Bergen, director John Huston's The Man Who Would be King (1975) with Michael Caine, director Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and the Cold War tale The Hunt for Red October (1990).

When he was knighted at the age of 69 by Britain's Queen Elizabeth in 2000, he wore full Scottish dress including the plaid kilt of his mother's MacLeod clan.

Long after achieving fame, Connery contentedly gave it up.

He spent his final two decades cheerfully retired in the Caribbean, often playing golf with his wife, unimpressed and little tempted by more modern Hollywood productions.

Connery retired from movies after disputes with the director of his final outing, the forgettable The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2003.

Sir Sean Connery waves to cameras while on a red carpet.
Sir Sean Connery, remembered for his role as the iconic James Bond, retired from acting in 2003. Source: PA

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