Gareth Thomas, best known for playing Roj Blake in cult 70s sci-fi series Blake's 7, has died. He was 71.

The Bafta-nominated Welsh actor became a household name after appearing as the resistance leader in the BBC series which ran between 1978 and 1981, although his varied career included everything from Shakespearean drama to British soaps.

The news was confirmed via Blake's 7's official website. "It is with deep sadness that we have to announce that Gareth Thomas passed away this morning, 13th April 2016, from heart failure," the statement read.

"Our thoughts are with his wife Linda, and his family and friends."

Thomas was born in 1945, and made his TV breakthrough in 1965, appearing as Benvolio in a production of Romeo and Juliet.

Roles on classic series such as The Avengers and Z-Cars followed, as well as children's serial Children of the Stones and an early foray into sci-fi with ITV series Star Maidens.

But it was in Blake's 7 that established him as a sci-fi favourite.

He later went on to appear in police series Heartbeat, and make appearances in other sci-fi series including Torchwood and a Doctor Who audio drama.

He returned to the role of Blake in 2012 for a series of Big Finish audio dramas The Liberator Chronicles.