Director Tony Scott has been hailed as "one of the world's true originals" as tributes poured in for the Top Gun film-maker, who jumped to his death from a bridge in Los Angeles.

The 68-year-old, originally from North Shields, was best known for action-packed Hollywood blockbusters including Days Of Thunder and Beverly Hills Cop II.

Scott, younger brother of film-maker Ridley Scott, leapt from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in LA. Lieutenant Joe Bale, of the County Coroner's office, said the death was being treated as a suicide.

A US television news network claimed he was suffering from inoperable brain cancer at the time of his death. ABC News made the claim, citing a source close to the director.

British actress Keira Knightley, who worked with Scott on his 2005 film Domino in which she starred as a bounty hunter, said: "Tony Scott was one of the most extraordinary, imaginative men I ever worked with. It was a privilege to have spent the time I did with him. He was a firecracker and one of the world's true originals."

A dive team pulled Scott's body from the water several hours after members of the public alerted emergency services, having seen him jump from the bridge. A suicide note is said to have been found at his office and he had left contact details in his black Toyota Prius parked close to the scene.

Scott, who lived in Beverly Hills, was married to the actress Donna Scott, his third wife with whom he had twin sons.

Director Ron Howard also paid tribute to Scott, writing on Twitter: "No more Tony Scott movies. Tragic day."

Stephen Fry said: "Deeply saddened to hear the news about Tony Scott. A fine film-maker and the most charming, modest man."

Shaun of the Dead film-maker Edgar Wright tweeted: "As I hope was evident in my work, I was big fan of his. Rest In Peace, sir."