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    Peter O'Toole, Lawrence of Arabia Star, Dies at 81

    Peter O'Toole GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

    Peter O'Toole, who starred as T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, died on Saturday, Dec. 14.

    He was 81.

    "His family are very appreciative and completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of real love and affection being expressed towards him, and to us, during this unhappy time," his daughter Kate said in a statement. "Thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts."

    The legendary Irish actor's agent told the BBC that O'Toole passed away at London's Wellington hospital after a long illness, and added he "was one of a kind in the very best sense and a giant in his field."

    PHOTOS: Celebrity deaths in 2013

    In a career that began in 1954, O'Toole is probably best known for his work as the British military figure who led a rebellion in Arabia during World War I in Lawrence of Arabia, as well as Becket, The Lion in Winter, The Stunt Man and My Favorite Year. He had been nominated for eight Academy Awards and received an Honorary Oscar in 2003.

    He also costarred opposite Brad Pitt in Troy and appeared in the Showtime series The Tudors.

    O'Toole announced his retirement from acting last year after more than fifty years in the business, saying in a statement "It is time for me to chuck in the sponge. To retire from films and stage. The heart for it has gone out of me: it won't come back."

    "My professional acting life, stage and screen, has brought me public support, emotional fulfillment and material comfort...However, it's my belief that one should decide for oneself when it is time to end one's stay. So I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell."

    Per the Guardian, O'Toole is survived by his two daughters, Pat and Kate O'Toole from his marriage to actress Siân Phillips, and his son, Lorcan O'Toole, by Karen Brown.

    —Additional reporting by Marcus Mulick

    PHOTOS: Peter O'Toole: A life in pictures

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