Tributes have been pouring in for the Oscar-nominated German director Wolfgang Petersen, who passed away at the age of 81.

Petersen came to prominence as the director of World War 2 drama 'Das Boot', and secured Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Petersen went on to have a strong career in Hollywood, directing blockbuster hits such as 'The Neverending Story', 'Air Force One', 'Outbreak', and 'In The Line Of Fire'.

A who's who of Hollywood talent acted under his direction, such as Brad Pitt, Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman, Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Clint Eastwood and George Clooney.

Petersen's most prolific decade as a director came in the 1990s, where he directed hit films such as 1993's 'In The Line Of Fire' starring Clint Eastwood, the 1995 pandemic thriller 'Outbreak', and the 1997 action movie classic 'Air Force One'.

Diane Lane, who starred in his 2000 film 'The Perfect Storm' paid tribute to the director.

"My heart is sad today," she said in a statement to Deadline.

"Wolfgang was a big, loving soul. A natural leader via positive encouragement; dare I say, he was a spiritual channel for us, grounding truly big stories to move us all through heights and depths."

"Just being near him made me a better actor. My sincere condolences and love to his family," she said.

Film critic Bilge Ebiri said '"Das Boot' revolutionised Hollywood action for a generation," and 'In The Line Of Fire' was an "eternal masterpiece."

'Midnight Mass' and 'Doctor Sleep' director Mike Flanagan paid his respects on Twitter, saying "I'll always have a very special place in my heart for 'The Neverending Story'."

Glenn Close, who starred for Petersen in the 1997 hit 'Air Force One', shared her memories of the director, saying being directed by him remains "a special memory."

"He didn’t waste anyone’s time. My memory is of a man full of joie de vivre who was doing what he most loved to do," the actress said.