BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 31:  Actor Bill Paxton attends the 5th Annual Critics' Choice Television Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on May 31, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Jason Merritt/Getty Images
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 31: Actor Bill Paxton attends the 5th Annual Critics' Choice Television Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on May 31, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:17
Bill Paxton's most memorable roles
Now playing
01:52
Chadwick Boseman's widow gives tearful speech at tribute
In this Feb. 14, 2018 photo, actor Chadwick Boseman poses for a portrait in New York to promote his film, "Black Panther."  Boseman, who played Black icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown before finding fame as the regal Black Panther in the Marvel cinematic universe, has died of cancer. His representative says Boseman died Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 in Los Angeles after a four-year battle with colon cancer. He was 43.
Victoria Will/AP
In this Feb. 14, 2018 photo, actor Chadwick Boseman poses for a portrait in New York to promote his film, "Black Panther." Boseman, who played Black icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown before finding fame as the regal Black Panther in the Marvel cinematic universe, has died of cancer. His representative says Boseman died Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 in Los Angeles after a four-year battle with colon cancer. He was 43.
Now playing
02:17
A look back at Chadwick Boseman's legacy
title: Chadwick Boseman's Howard University 2018 Commencement Speech  duration: 00:34:41  site: Youtube  author: null  published: Mon May 14 2018 10:29:12 GMT-0400 (EDT)  intervention: yes  description: Howard University alumnus Chadwick Boseman provides words of inspiration to the Class of 2018 during Howard University's 150th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 12 in Washington, D.C.
Howard University/WHUT
title: Chadwick Boseman's Howard University 2018 Commencement Speech duration: 00:34:41 site: Youtube author: null published: Mon May 14 2018 10:29:12 GMT-0400 (EDT) intervention: yes description: Howard University alumnus Chadwick Boseman provides words of inspiration to the Class of 2018 during Howard University's 150th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 12 in Washington, D.C.
Now playing
01:19
Chadwick Boseman gives 'Wakanda' salute at Howard graduation (2018)
SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 16:  James Shaw Jr. accepts award from Actor Chadwick Boseman onstage at the 2018 MTV Movie And TV Awards at Barker Hangar on June 16, 2018 in Santa Monica, California.  (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/FilmMagic
SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 16: James Shaw Jr. accepts award from Actor Chadwick Boseman onstage at the 2018 MTV Movie And TV Awards at Barker Hangar on June 16, 2018 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Now playing
00:55
'Black Panther' star honors Waffle House hero
NBC/Broadway Video
Now playing
01:34
The Black Panther plays 'Jeopardy!' on 'SNL'
Now playing
01:50
Kids see themselves in 'Black Panther' heroes
English rock group the Baker Gurvitz Army in a studio, August 1974. Left to right: Paul Gurvitz, Ginger Baker and Adrian Gurvitz. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
Michael Putland/Getty Images
English rock group the Baker Gurvitz Army in a studio, August 1974. Left to right: Paul Gurvitz, Ginger Baker and Adrian Gurvitz. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:35
Legendary drummer Ginger Baker dies aged 80
Courtesy Grants Pass Department of Public Safety
Now playing
00:44
Actor Charles Levin found dead
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Denise Nickerson who played Violet Beauregarde in the original film attends the 40th Anniversary of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory at Jacques Torres Chocolates on October 18, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
Cindy Ord/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Denise Nickerson who played Violet Beauregarde in the original film attends the 40th Anniversary of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory at Jacques Torres Chocolates on October 18, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:18
'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory' actress has died
SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, followed by her brother, Tony Rodham, stop at Casa Bella Italian Restaurant in Scranton, Pennsylvania on Friday evening April 22, 2016. Hillary Clinton's father was born in Scranton, and she has family in the area. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
The Washington Post/Getty Images
SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, followed by her brother, Tony Rodham, stop at Casa Bella Italian Restaurant in Scranton, Pennsylvania on Friday evening April 22, 2016. Hillary Clinton's father was born in Scranton, and she has family in the area. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Now playing
00:30
Hillary Clinton's brother Tony Rodham dead at 65
GULFPORT, MS - JUNE 22:  U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) looks on during a campaign rally at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport on June 22, 2014 in Gulfport, Mississippi.  Tea Party-backed Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Chris McDaniel, a Mississippi state senator, is locked in a tight runoff race with incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) who failed to win the nomination in the primary election.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
GULFPORT, MS - JUNE 22: U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) looks on during a campaign rally at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport on June 22, 2014 in Gulfport, Mississippi. Tea Party-backed Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Chris McDaniel, a Mississippi state senator, is locked in a tight runoff race with incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) who failed to win the nomination in the primary election. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:22
Longtime US Senator Thad Cochran dies at 81
Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr just before his retirement in 1972.
Vernon Biever/AP
Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr just before his retirement in 1972.
Now playing
01:00
Legendary quarterback Bart Starr passes away at 85
Niki Lauda celebrates after the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 16, 2017 in Northampton, England.
Dan Mullan/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
Niki Lauda celebrates after the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 16, 2017 in Northampton, England.
Now playing
01:58
​​Niki Lauda: Three-time F1 champ dies aged 70​
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Actor Tim Conway arrives at the Paley Center for Media and TV Land salute of "The Bob Newhart Show" at the Paley Center for Media on September 5, 2007 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
Michael Buckner/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 05: Actor Tim Conway arrives at the Paley Center for Media and TV Land salute of "The Bob Newhart Show" at the Paley Center for Media on September 5, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:07
Tim Conway of 'The Carol Burnett Show' dead at 85

Story highlights

Paxton died in the middle of his first season of the TV series "Training Day"

He had more than 90 acting credits and was an "underrated" director

(CNN) —  

Actor Bill Paxton, whose extensive career included films such as “Twister,” “Aliens” and “Titanic,” has died, a representative for his family said in a statement. He was 61.

“It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery,” the statement said.

“Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker. … We ask to please respect the family’s wish for privacy as they mourn the loss of their adored husband and father.”

Moments after news of Paxton’s death broke, social media lit up with tributes to the versatile actor.

Actor Rob Lowe called Paxton a dear friend and “Renaissance man.”

“Devastated by the sudden loss of my close friend and one of the finest actors in the business, Bill Paxton,” Lowe tweeted.

In addition to more than 90 acting credits, Paxton was also a director on films such as “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” and “Frailty.”

Screenwriter Brian Lynch said Paxton was a talented director.

“RIP Bill Paxton. great in everything, was the highlight of every movie he was in,” Lynch tweeted. “Underrated director too.”

Paxton’s death came in the middle of his first season as Detective Frank Rourke in his last TV series, “Training Day.”

But the entire season’s episodes were already completed in December, CBS said Sunday.

It was not immediately clear what will happen to the series.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened this morning by the news of Bill Paxton’s passing,” CBS and Warner Bros. Television said in a joint statement. “All of us here offer our deepest sympathy to his wife, Louise, and his two children.”

From Texas upbringing to Hollywood stardom

Paxton was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1955. He accidentally entered the national spotlight at age 8, when he went to see President John F. Kennedy visit Dallas on November 22, 1963.

A photo of Paxton hoisted above the crowd became a famous photo from the day of Kennedy’s assassination.

Texas Supreme Court Judge Don Willett shared the photo and called Paxton a “good guy, great actor and proud Texan.”

Growing up, Paxton became “a huge fan of Clint Eastwood’s,” he told CNN in 2005.

“I’ve never really gotten to know Clint. I’ve met him a couple of times, but he has no idea what a mentor he’s been to me.”

Paxton’s career took off in the 1980s, with roles in “The Terminator,” “Aliens” and “Near Dark.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger, who famously starred in “The Terminator,” said his costar’s best role wasn’t actually on camera.

“Bill Paxton could play any role, but he was best at being Bill – a great human being with a huge heart,” Schwarzenegger tweeted.

In the ‘90s, Paxton played a police chief in “One False Move,” an astronaut in “Apollo 13” and a storm chaser in “Twister.”

Helen Hunt, who co-starred with Paxton in “Twister,” said Paxton “acted his heart out.”

But Paxton said he always wanted to make films, not just act in them.

“I’ve kind of modeled myself as a filmmaker/actor,” he told CNN after directing “The Greatest Game Ever Played” in 2005.

“That was always my dream, to make films.”

CNN’s Sandra Gonzalez and Steve Forrest contributed to this report.