Celebrated Spanish director Juan Jose Bigas Luna has died after a battle with cancer, aged 67.

The filmmaker died at his home near Barcelona on Friday (05Apr13).

The news was broken by a representative for Spain's Academy for Cinematography Arts and Sciences, who wrote on the organisation's Twitter.com blog on Saturday (06Apr13): "The Academy is sorry about the passing away of Bigas Luna yesterday... The 67-year-old film director was working on his next film."

Bigas Luna made his debut as a screenwriter and director in 1976 film Tatuaje and became known for making erotically-charged movies like Bilbao (1978).

He gave a young Penelope Cruz her big break in 1992 when he cast her opposite her now-husband Javier Bardem in her movie debut, Jamon Jamon, a critically-acclaimed comedy drama which landed him the prestigious Silver Lion award at the Venice Film Festival in Italy.

He released his last film, Di Di Hollywood, in 2010 and had been working on a film adaptation of author Manuel de Pedrolo's sci-fi novel Second origin typescript upon his death.