New Zealand actor Sam Neill has paid tribute to Hollywood star Bill Paxton who died yesterday.

Neill tweeted this morning: "Terribly shaken to hear Bill Paxton has died. Sweetest man you ever knew. Fine actor and funny as hell. Thinking of his family he adored."

The Aliens and Twister actor, aged 61, reportedly suffered complications after undergoing heart surgery and passed away after a massive stroke.

Kiwi actor Karl Urban also paid tribute to Paxton, saying he was an "awesome talent and a great guy."

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Celebrities such as William Shatner, Rob Lowe, Zach Braff and others also posted their tributes on social media to mourn the loss of their friend and colleague.

According to the Daily Mail, Paxton was set to appear alongside Tom Hanks later this year in The Circle, who said in a tweet: "Bill Paxton was, simply, a wonderful man. A wonderful man."

Director Doug Liman, who worked with Paxton in Edge of Tomorrow, said the actor was worried about his upcoming surgery, the NY Daily News reported.

Liman said Paxton wrote him an email that said: "Thanks for the good wishes. It will help me face this ordeal. Don't worry "Sgt Farrell" will be ready to report for duty."

The actor was expected to work with the director again in a sequel of the original 2014 action film as character Master Sergeant Farell.

Liman added to the NY Daily News: "Even facing major surgery, his optimism for the future was infectious.

"He was talking about the future, things we hoped to do together."

Celebrities also shared their tributes on social media to mourn the loss of their friend and colleague.

Actor Rob Lowe posted a series of tweets that sent his condolences to his family and said:

"Devastated by the sudden loss of my close friend and one of the finest actors in the business, Bill Paxton.

"Renaissance man, raconteur and uniquely American national treasure. His filmography speaks for itself. His friendship was a blessing."

Other celebrities started to flood Twitter with their tributes this morning.

Fans have also taken to social media to share their thoughts on Bill Paxton's death.

Paxton leaves behind two children. He was married to his second wife, Louise Newbury, at the time of his death.

His family's statement added: "Bill's passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable."

He was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and his father John Paxton was also an actor, having worked on several Spiderman films.

The Texas native has close to 100 acting credits to his name, including film and television work.

His death comes just before today's Academy Awards ceremony, which has not noted if it will honour the late actor during the awards.