When it comes to spy fiction, no other spy has had a powerful hold on the popular imagination like Ian Fleming’s suave British agent James Bond. From his original novels came forth a cinematic franchise heavyweight that has seen Bond save the world from outlandish terrorist threats and criminal masterminds for decades, played by a succession of heartthrob actors.

The third of these is English actor Sir Roger Moore, taking over the role from Scottish Sean Connery and Australian George Lazenby. In addition to being James Bond, Moore was popular on TV as Simon Templar in “The Saint”, and in real life as a prominent goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.

He was described as a force of nature all his life, which is why the world felt it when he passed away at the age of 89.

Farewell letter from family

Following a lengthy battle with cancer, Roger Moore died Tuesday, May 23 at his home in Switzerland. This was announced by his family on his official Twitter page, which featured a letter from his surviving children Deborah, Geoffrey and Christian, all children of his third wife the Italian actress Luisa Mattioli.

"The love with which he was surrounded in his final days was so great it cannot be quantified in words alone," the statement read, also adding that that love would be magnified by the thoughts of people all over the world by his TV and movie fans as well as supporters of his UNICEF ambassadorship, which Moore had considered the greatest achievement of his life.

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The Moore children then ended with a pledge to look after their stepmother, Roger’s fourth wife Kristina Tholdrup, in this difficult time following his death. They then explained the arrangements that, in accordance with their father’s wishes he would be accorded a private funeral service in Monaco.

Celebrity world mourns

Born in 1927 to a policeman and a housewife, Roger Moore’s good looks led him to star on British television, where he became famous for “The Persuaders” and “The Saint”. The latter role was said to have led to his casting as James Bond, playing the role the most times of all Bond actors.

His characterization was a light-hearted turn from the portrayals of Connery and Lazenby, but it was clear he was having a lot of fun with it. His last outing as Bond was in 1985’s “A View to a Kill”.

English synth-pop band Duran Duran, which sang that film’s theme song, gave their condolences to Moore’s passing on Twitter.

His characterization was a light-hearted turn from the portrayals of Connery and Lazenby, but it was clear he was having a lot of fun with it. His last outing as Bond was in 1985’s “A View to a Kill”. English synth-pop band Duran Duran, which sang that film’s theme song, gave their condolences to Moore’s passing on Twitter.

Other celebrities who came out on social media to pay tribute to the departed Bond actor included Michael Caine, Mia Farrow and Ewan McGregor, who saluted Moore as a fellow UNICEF ambassador.