British director Mike Hodges, best known for films like Flash Gordon and Croupier, has died. He is 90 years old. His death was confirmed to NBC News by producer and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead collaborator Mike Kaplan. Hodges died Saturday at his home in Dorset, England, of heart failure, according to Kaplan.
A representative for Hodges did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. Hodges’ longest career dates back to the 1950s. Before starting the film, he spent two years of compulsory national service on a Royal Navy minesweeper, which he cites as the inspiration for his first film, Get Carter.
In a letter published by The Guardian in May, he explained: “For two years, my middle-class eyes were forced to see a terrible poverty and deprivation that I had never known before. I went into the navy as a newly qualified chartered accountant and came out a complacent young Tory, and an angry, radical young man.”
“Twenty years later, when I was asked to adapt Ted Lewis’s great book, I recognized that world and added my own experiences to it,” he says. His second film, Pulp, came a year after the 1971 release of Get Carter, Hodges’ directorial talent rose to prominence with 1980’s Flash Gordon.
The space film gained an instant cult following that is still referenced throughout pop culture 40 years after its debut. Despite being based on a 1930s comic strip of the same name, Hodges told the BBC in 2020, “I honestly thought it would never see the light of the projector.”
Although Hodges’ career spanned several crime dramas, his work also shined on television, directing 1984’s Square the Circle and 1994’s Dandelion Dead, which earned him a 1995 BAFTA. His last project came in 2010 in the form of a fictional novel titled Watching the Wheels Come Off.
Following the news of his death, film and comic book writer Brian Lynch shared his condolences and respect for the late director. “Flash Gordon director Mike Hodges has passed away. Finally watched this movie during the pandemic and it made me so happy. I’ve seen it so many times. Nothing like it.
Rest in peace sir,” he wrote. A tweet on Tuesday. According to The Guardian, Hodges was with his wife, Carol Laws, and his two sons, Ben and Jake Hodges.