Legendary Irish actor Peter O'Toole has retired from acting mere weeks before his 80th birthday.

The thespian, who starred in such classics as Lawrence of Arabia, Goodbye, Mr Chips and The Ruling Class, released a statement saying "It is time for me to chuck in the sponge. To retire from films and stage. The heart for it has gone out of me: it won't come back." On his incredible career he said, "It has brought me together with fine people, good companions with whom I've shared the inevitable lot of all actors: flops and hits." He added, "It's my belief that one should decide for oneself when it is time to end one's stay." He was nominated for eight Academy Awards during his career, but never managed to win one outright. He finished his statement by saying: "I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell."

O'Toole last picked up a nomination for his work in the 2006 film, Venus; he won an "Honorary Oscar" in 2003 - an accolade he initially refused. Extremely classy, as to be expected from one of our finest ever artists.