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Legendary actor Bud Spencer, who starred in a number of spaghetti westerns, has died aged 86.

The Italian actor, whose real name was Carlo Pedersoli, passed away peacefully on June 27 in Rome “and did not suffer from pain”, his son, Giuseppe Pedersoli has announced.

Bud Spencer was known among his fans as the “big friendly giant” of the screen because of his height and weight.

He was also a professional swimmer.

Bud Spencer appeared in more than 20 movies from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

He frequently appeared as part of a double act alongside Terence Hill – whose real name was Mario Girotti.

Bud Spencer’s movies included Ace High, They Call Me Trinity, Double Trouble, Go For It and A Friend is a Treasure.

Bud Spencer’s family said on his Twitter account: “With our deepest regrets, we have to tell you that Bud is flying to his next journey.”

Giuseppe Pedersoli added: “He had all of us next to him and his last words were <<Thank you>>.”

Paying tribute to Bud Spencer, Italian PM Matteo Renzi tweeted: “Ciao #BudSpencer We loved you so much.”

Russell Crowe said: “RIP Bud Spencer. My heart goes out to your family.”

The Hollywood star was a known fan of Bud Spencer’s work – at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year he thanked a journalist for comparing his double act with Ryan Gosling in The Nice Guys to Bud Spencer and Terence Hill.

Russell Crowe said: “Dude, now you’re talking. That’s a really flattering compliment, thank you very much.”

Bud Spencer was born in Naples in 1929, but later moved to Rome, where he became a promising swimmer.

In 1950, Carlo Pedersoli became the first Italian to swim 100m in under one minute.

He later abandoned his sporting career and began acting in westerns and comedy movies – appearing alongside Terrence Hill in 16 films.

Bud Spencer said he chose his name as a tribute to his favorite beer Budweiser and Spencer Tracy.