Top Gun director dies after leap from LA bridge

Tony Scott, director of such Hollywood hits as Top Gun, Days of Thunder and Beverly Hills Cop II, died Sunday after jumping from a Los Angeles County bridge, authorities said.

The 68-year-old Scott's death was being investigated as a suicide, Los Angeles County Coroner's Lt. Joe Bale said.

"I can confirm that Tony Scott has passed away. The family asks that their privacy is respected at this time," Scott's spokesman, Simon Halls, said in a statement.

As the investigation continued, an unnamed source told ABC News that the British-born filmmaker had been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer.

Several people called 911 around 12:35 pm to report that someone had jumped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge spanning San Pedro and Terminal Island in Los Angeles Harbour, according to Los Angeles police Lt. Tim Nordquist. A dive team with Los Angeles Port Police pulled the body from the murky water several hours later, Nordquist said.

Scott parked his car at the crest of the bridge, which is 185 feet above water. A note was found in the car. Investigators also located several notes to loved ones that Scott left in his car and at another location, but that they were not described in initial reports as suicide notes.

Scott, who lived in Beverly Hills, was producer and director Ridley Scott's younger brother. Distinct visual styles mark both siblings' films — Ridley Scott mastering the creation of entire worlds with such films as Gladiator, Blade Runner, Alien and this year's Prometheus, Tony Scott known for hyper-kinetic action and editing on such films as his most recent, the runaway train thriller Unstoppable, starring Denzel Washington.

Scott was a thrill-seeker himself in his personal life, an avid rock climber who also liked driving fast cars and motorcycles. Still, filmmaking was his real thrill. "The biggest edge I live on is directing. That's the most scary, dangerous thing you can do in your life," Scott said in an interview for his 1995 naval adventure Crimson Tide. "The scariest thing in my life is the first morning of production on all my movies. It's the fear of failing, the loss of face and a sense of guilt that everybody puts their faith in you and not coming through."

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