The late filmmaker is being remembered for his fiery energy and his uncompromising commitment to the arts.

20 Jun 2016 - 12:42 PM  UPDATED 20 Jun 2016 - 12:42 PM

Paul Cox, who had a major impact on Australian indie cinema with films like Lonely Hearts and Man of Flowers has died, the Australian Directors Guild announced on Twitter on Saturday. He was 76.

A cause of death was not revealed, but Cox had been struggling with health issues in recent years. He had long battled cancer, and underwent a liver transplant in 2009.

Down but not out - Paul Cox interview
In a frank interview, filmmaker Paul Cox talks about his fight against liver cancer.

Cox, who was born in the Netherlands and relocated to Australia in 1965, first broke out with Lonely Hearts in 1981. The romantic comedy starred Wendy Hughes and Norman Kaye, and would go on to win the AFI Award for best film.

After his initial breakthrough, the director released Man of Flowers in 1983 and My First Wife in 1984 to international acclaim. He continued to work even in recent years, despite battling illnesses.

Watch 'Man of Flowers' at SBS On Demand

Last year, Cox wrote and directed the semi-autobiographical Force of Destiny. The film starred David Wenham as a man awaiting a liver transplant.

Force of Destiny review: Paul Cox faces mortality as only Paul Cox can
Story of an artist's brush with death is poignant, flawed, personal.

His credits include 12 documentaries, with the most recent being 2012's The Dinner Party. He also directed Nijinsky: The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky in 2001, with Derek Jacobi as the voice of the Russian ballet star.

At the closing night of the Sydney Film Festival last night, Margaret Pomeranz remembered Cox's legacy.

"The early films of Paul Cox in the 1970s turned me on to Aussie cinema," she said. "He was a groundbreaking talent as he explored the lives of contemporary Australia with imagination and compassion. A firebrand, a dogged fighter for independent Australian cinema, a grand person. What a loss.

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Cox's daughter, Kyra, tweeted a tribute to him on Saturday. "Goodbye my beautiful daddy," she wrote.

Industry friends, colleagues and collaborators all took to social media to mourn the director. 

Jacqueline McKenzie starred in Cox's Human Touch and had a supporting role in Force of Destiny. She shared a personal photograph of her friend on Instagram. 

Watch 'Human Touch' at SBS On Demand

Browse Paul Cox interviews and full-length films at SBS On Demand

Browse Paul Cox movie reviews at SBS Movies