The horror director, who worked with Towles on a number of projects over the years, broke the news to fans with a post on Facebook.com.

Alongside a photo of his late pal, Zombie wrote, "I just got word that our buddy Tom Towles has died. He was such a great guy and I am so grateful that we got to work together several times. He will be really missed."

The 65 year old embarked on an acting career after a stint in the U.S. Marines, and made his debut in 1975's Dog Day Afternoon.

He went on to score a series of small roles in film and TV, and became a familiar face for horror fans after appearing in projects including Fortress and Blood in Blood Out and Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses and its sequel, The Devil's Rejects.

Towles was also known for his role as Otis in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, and as Harry Cooper in Tom Savini's Night of the Living Dead remake.

He also featured in Zombie's Halloween in 2007 and as a drug lord in the 2006 film adaptation of Miami Vice, while his TV credits included roles in Seinfeld, Star Trek Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, ER and NYPD Blue.