Hollywood heavyweight Garry Marshall has passed away aged 81.The writer, actor, producer and director died on Tuesday in California, due to complications from pneumonia following a stroke, his publicist has confirmed.

Marshall was best known as the creator of comedies such as Happy Days, The Odd Couple, Mork and Mindy and Joanie Loves Chachi, as well as directing Julia Roberts smash hit movie Pretty Woman. 

He was also at the helm for Beaches, New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, Runaway Bride and The Princess Diaries franchise – and recently wrote the script for movie Mother's Day, starring Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson and Jack Whitehall, which came out earlier this year. 

While prolific behind the camera, Marshall was no stranger to appearing on screen. He starred in many of his own projects and recently took on roles in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, BoJack Horseman, Two and a Half Men and Louie. 

Friends, fans and former colleagues have now taken to social media to pay tribute to the much-loved man: 

Zelda Williams, the daughter of the late Robin Williams, tweeted her thanks. Marshall cast a then unknown Robin Williams in his hit comedy Mork & Mindy.

Abigal Breslin, who worked with Marshall on both Raising Helen and New Year's Eve posted a poignant message on Instagram, calling him "like a grandpa to me" and "one of the most wonderful people in the world."

Richard Gere, who was Marshall's leading man in movies Pretty Woman and Runaway Bride, released a statement after hearing the news, which reads: "Garry of course was one of those truly important people one is blessed to meet in one’s lifetime. Besides being the pulse and life force of Pretty Woman… a steady helmsman on a ship that could have easily capsized… he was a super fine and decent man, husband and father who brought real joy and love and infectious good spirits to every thing and everyone he crossed paths with.

"Everyone loved Garry. He was a mentor and a cheerleader and one of the funniest men who ever lived. He had a heart of the purest gold and a soul full of mischief. He was Garry.”