Visual effects master Ray Harryhausen, whose stop-motion wizardry graced such films as Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans, has died aged 92.
The American animator made his models by hand and painstakingly shot them frame by frame to create some of the best-known battle sequences in cinema.
His death was confirmed to the BBC by a representative of the family.
"Harryhausen's genius was in being able to bring his models alive," said an official statement from his foundation.
"Whether they were prehistoric dinosaurs or mythological creatures, in Ray's hands they were no longer puppets but became instead characters in their own right."
Born in Los Angeles in June 1920, Raymond Frederick Harryhausen had a passion for dinosaurs as a child that led him to make his own versions of prehistoric creatures.
Films like 1925's The Lost World and the 1933 version of King Kong stoked that passion and prompted him to seek out a meeting with Willis O'Brien, a pioneer in the field of model animation.
Harryhausen went on to make some of the fantasy genre's best-known movies, among them Mighty Joe Young, One Million Years B.C. and a series of films based on the adventures of Sinbad the sailor.
He is perhaps best remembered for animating the seven skeletons who come to life in Jason and the Argonauts, a sequence which took him three months to film, and for the Medusa who turned men to stone in Titans.
Harryhausen inspired a generation of film directors, from Steven Spielberg and James Cameron to Peter Jackson of the Lord of the Rings fame.
Peter Lord of Aardman Animations was quick to pay tribute, describing him as "a one-man industry and a one-man genre" on Twitter.
"I loved every single frame of Ray Harryhausen's work," tweeted Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright. "He was the man who made me believe in monsters."
The veteran animator donated his complete collection - about 20,000 objects - to the National Media Museum in Bradford in 2010.