London: British producer-director Lewis Gilbert, best known for films such as "Alfie" and James Bond films such as "The Spy Who Loved Me" and "Moonraker", has died. He was 97.

The news of his death was shared by the Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.

"It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of our dear friend Lewis Gilbert. Lewis was a true gentleman," the duo said in a statement.

Gilbert directed 1967's "You Only Live Twice" starring Sean Connery, "The Spy Who Loved Me" in 1977 and "Moonraker" in 1979, both starring Roger Moore.

"He made an enormous contribution to the British film industry as well as the Bond films, directing 'You Only Live Twice', 'The Spy Who Loved Me' and 'Moonraker'. His films are not only loved by us but are considered classics within the series. He will be sorely missed," they added.

Gilbert, who was born into the family of music-hall performers, began his career as a child actor. In 1939, he worked as an assistant on Alfred Hitchcock's "Jamaica Inn".

He was also known for directing "Educating Rita" and "Alfie". For the latter, he received an Oscar nomination for best director. "Alfie" was also instrumental in actor Michael Caine's rise to fame.

On Twitter, a number of celebrities, including directors Edgar Wright and Peyton Reed, paid to tributes to Gilbert.

"Lewis Gilbert, director of 'You Only Live Twice', 'The Spy Who Loved Me' and 'Moonraker', has passed away. 'Spy' was the first Bond film I saw in the theatre. (And I have a tiny homage to 'Moonraker' in 'Ant-Man and The Wasp'.) Rest in Peace," tweeted Reed.

Wright wrote, "Rip Lewis Gilbert, the great British director who, among his 40 plus credits, directed 'Alfie', 'Educating Rita', 'Reach For The Sky', 'Shirley Valentine' and one of my very favourite Bond films: 'The Spy Who Loved Me'. "Why'd you have to be so good?" (PTI)