Matt Damon has been named the sexiest man alive by People magazine, pipping Grey's Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey to the top spot.

The 37-year-old star followed in the footsteps of his Ocean's Thirteen co-stars George Clooney and Brad Pitt, but initially refused the honour.

Damon wrote to the influential US magazine suggesting that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady be given the title instead.

"You've given an aging suburban dad the ego-boost of a lifetime," he added.

According to People, the Bourne Ultimatum actor's initial refusal of the title "perfectly demonstrated" why he'd been named the sexiest man alive in 2007.

His "irresistible sense of humour, heart-melting humility" and "rock-solid family man" status made Damon a shoo-in for the accolade, the magazine said.

The actor - who shared a best original screenplay Oscar with Good Will Hunting co-writer Ben Affleck - has a one-year-old daughter, Isabella, and a nine-year-old stepdaughter, Alexia, with his wife Luciana Bozan.

The sexiest man alive award has been running since 1985, with Mel Gibson the inaugural winner.

This year's top ten sexiest men alive were:

1. Matt Damon
2. Patrick Dempsey
3. Ryan Reynolds
4. Brad Pitt
5. James McAvoy
6. Johnny Depp
7. Dave Annable
8. Will Smith
9. Javier Bardem
10. Shemar Moore

15/11/2007 15:16:03