Major Hollywood stars have been paying tribute to Hollywood legend MARLON BRANDO, who has died at the age of 80.

Director Francis Ford Coppola is "sad" of the death of the star of two of his biggest films - The Godfather and Apocalypse Now.

Coppola says, "I hate the idea of people chiming in to give their comments about his death. All I'll say is that it makes me sad he's gone."

Long-time friend JAMES CAAN says he was "shocked" by news of his death and that he "influenced more young actors of my generation than any actor".

Brando's Godfather co-star AL PACINO says, "I was shocked and deeply saddened at the loss of the greatest acting genius of our time. What will we do without Marlon in this world?"

Death Wish director Michael Winner, who worked with Brando on 1972's THE NIGHTCOMERS, says, "He was the most tolerable, wonderful, witty companion and a marvellous human being.

"He was the most marvellous screen actor ever. He was a great actor...but he didn't like acting."

While praising his powerful screen performance, Brando's biographer PETER MANSO blasts the way he conducted his personal life which supposedly saw him father 16 children.

Manso comments, "This was a louse of a man. But as an artist he was the equivalent of PABLO PICASSO."

An ex-lover of Brando's - MARIA CHRISTINA RUIZ - adds, "I last saw him just three weeks ago and he was getting sicker by the day. I was totally shocked when I heard he had died."

04/07/2004 10:47