The 27-year-old, best known for play Chekov in the hit sci-fi film franchise, was killed after friends found him pinned in between his car and a brick mailbox at his San Fernando Valley home in California.

His untimely passing stunned castmates and directors in Hollywood, including his Star Trek co-star Zachary Quinto, who took to Instagram on Sunday to honour his fallen pal.

"our dear friend," Zachary began. "our comrade. our anton. one of the most open and intellectually curious people i have ever had the pleasure to know. so enormously talented and generous of heart. wise beyond his years. and gone before his time. all love and strength to his family at this impossible time of grief."

Karl Urban was still in shock when he took to Twitter, simply writing, "I can't believe it , Im fckn (sic) hurting bad!", while another Star Trek actor, Michael Dorn, tweeted: "I was hoping this wasn't true. Such a talented young actor taken way too soon. Very sad."

Filmmaker Justin Lin, who directed the upcoming Star Trek Beyond, wrote, "Still in shock. Rest in peace, Anton. Your passion and enthusiasm will live on with everyone that had the pleasure of knowing you."

Earlier in the day, John Cho tweeted: "I loved Anton Yelchin so much. He was a true artist - curious, beautiful, courageous. He was a great pal and a great son. I'm in ruins... Please send your love to Anton's family right now. They need it."

The third instalment of the rebooted Star Trek franchise is set to open on 22 July (16), and bosses from the film's studio, Paramount Pictures, also released a statement following Anton's death.

"All of us at Paramount join the world in morning the untimely passing of Antony Yelchin," it reads. "As a member of the Star Trek family, he was beloved by so many and he will be missed by all. We share our deepest condolences with his mother, father and family."

JJ Abrams, who directed the first two Star Trek instalments, posted a photo of a handwritten note on stationery which read: "Anton - You were brilliant. You were kind. You were funny as hell, and supremely talented. And you weren't here nearly long enough. Missing you... JJ."

Meanwhile, many of Anton's former co-stars also took to social media to pay their respects - Charlie Bartlett actress Kat Dennings wrote: "Anton Yelchin was one of my best friends. Can't say anything that conveys what this feels like," while Chris Evans, his Fierce People co-star, tweeted: "Devastated to hear about the brilliant Anton Yelchin. He was thoughtful, kind, and gifted. My thoughts and prayers are with his family," and his Alpha Dog co-star Olivia Wilde added, "Anton Yelchin was a bright, brilliant talent, and a truly kind person. I was so taken by him, and won't ever forget his sweet smile. RIP."

Filmmaker Drake Doremus, who directed Anton, Felicity Jones and Jennifer Lawrence in 2011 film Like Crazy, also honoured the actor, telling Variety, "Anton was one of a kind. Such an old soul who was one of the most sincere but also funniest people I have ever met. He taught me what being a humble and hard working artist is all about.

"His laugh was the best sound in the world, it was so contagious and comforting. He was always up to something to make you laugh, especially if you were getting frustrated or being too serious.

"Anton changed my life in so many ways and I’ll never forget him. Everybody in the Like Crazy family wants to send their love to Anton’s family on this incredibly devastating day. Laphroaig (whisky) is in my glass my friend. Love you Anton."

Jodie Foster, who directed Anton in The Beaver, released a statement which reads: "Anton... What a rare and beautiful soul with his unstoppable passion for life. He was equal parts serious thinker and the most fun little brother you could ever dream of. I am so honored to have been able to direct such a deep actor, so committed and genuine. I will forever be grateful for all of those little exchanges we shared, his contagious enthusiasm, his questions, his company.

"My heart breaks for his mom and dad who were a part of every anecdote. He carried their love into everything he touched."